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The Applied Physics Laboratory campus is located between Baltimore and Washington. (Credit: JHUAPL)

toward Pluto on the planetary frontier. Talented APL staff are also creating super-thin nano-systems that regulate heat, perfecting a medical surveillance network to enhance homeland security, playing a decisive role in building a global information network for defense communications, and developing a realistic and revolutionary prosthetic arm, to name just a few of the 400-plus programs the Laboratory works on today. APL’s Office of Technology Transfer promotes innovation by matching APL inventions and research with industry needs. The office facilitates the transfer of APL-developed technology to business and industry, fostering growth of the regional technology economy and benefiting the public. Among APL’s innovative projects is the Revolutionizing Prosthetics 2009 project. APL leads more than 30 research institutions worldwide, and is developing a mechanical arm that mimics the properties of a real limb. Our researchers have adapted the Wii Guitar Hero game into a tool for amputees fitted with the next generation of artificial arms. Shifting electrodes and manipulating algorithms, the adapted game helps amputees play the full range of a rock hit using only the electrical impulses from their residual muscles. The amputee does this training with the help of what’s called a Virtual Integration Environment (VIE) -- a virtual-reality training tool in which an onscreen animated arm mimics the user’s intended movements in real time, based on inputs from multiple electrodes attached to the user’s residual arm. While APL’s overlying focus is on national security in the oceans, land, air and space, its broad mission of public service includes fostering educational growth, supporting economic development and being an active leader in the local community. To all these tasks APL brings unmatched advanced technology skills; highly qualified, technically diverse teams; hands-on operational knowledge of military and security environments; and a proven systems engineering approach. APL’s creative staff, augmented by world-class facilities, regularly demonstrates its ability to develop effective solutions to difficult problems – and is poised to continue serving the nation for decades to come. Tel + Best of DC


The Mercury-bound MESSENGER (above) is one of several APL-built spacecraft sent across the solar system. (Credit: NASA)

BEST OF DC: Defining Change in American Leadership  
BEST OF DC: Defining Change in American Leadership  

Welcome to the BEST OF DC: ‘Defining Change’ in American Leadership. This Inaugural Edition is the very first interactive publication of its...