New software program developed to improve YPG test equipment
In the test and development world at Yuma Proving Ground, the men and women who support the mission are constantly working to stay current with technology, looking for ways to improve, integrate or develop faster and smarter ways to test equipment for the warfighter.
This past June, John Curry, operations research analyst for data reduction in the Technical Services Division, presented a new software program at a symposium held in Quantico, Va. The software program determines the positional and angular motion of relatively stationary test objects during the various stages of their firing, as derived from high-speed, high-definition, digital camera imagery.
The software program provides detailed information in three dimensions to testers and took nearly four years to develop by a team of YPG veterans; Curry and co-worker Jeff Kenney, a computer scientist. In a recent rocket launcher test, Curry utilized the software to process the camera-derived data and later showcased the findings at the symposium. He provided attendees with examples of motion comparisons, which determined the motions of a rocket launcher in 24 test firings. In addition, Curry showed how the software package was able to capture physical data imagery for measurement analysis and accurate results in time-space-coordinates to depict an entire event.
“We developed this system from the ground up and this software allows testers to see how different platforms on the ground are firing and to see how much an object moves, either linearly (millimeters or inches) or angularly (degrees),” explained Curry. “Using a Java-based graphical user interface for cross-platform support, it provides an excellent tool for interaction with the images, allowing test engineers to see precisely how much an object moves during firing.” After all data is gathered, he went on to say, testers can go back and make improvements on the weapons system, making it safer for the warfighter.
The video processing capabilities of this software can support many other types of tests, such as airdrops. “Features of this software can support a test with personnel jumping out of an aircraft to examine the performance of the parachute,” said Curry, “when the drops are tracked with a kineto tracking mount.”
Curry and Kenney, who have both been employed at YPG for nearly 20 years, worked over the past four years refining the software program. Both work in data reduction where raw test data from radars and cameras is taken after a test mission and processed into a format for the customer to use, such as in a spreadsheet. The new software has been used on three different tests thus far, and Curry and Kenney hope to see more testing programs utilize the software in the future.
“This single program does everything that several individual pieces of software used to do, plus a little more,” Kenney said. “We're moving away from doing things in analog mode and moving towards digital because analog equipment is becoming antiquated -- digital is the way of the future.” We now have the capability of hand-scoring the first frame of a video segment and then using the software to automatically score the rest of the test, which saves time, he explained.
The capabilities of the newly developed software as yet unnamed are many and Curry and Kenney are always working on ways to improve it.
“Whether it's a mortar test, a tank firing or an airdrop, test engineers need to know how various parts are moving independently,” Curry said. “Testers want to see how each part changes at different angles when it moves back and forth horizontally or vertically. This information is critical to the tester because he or she can go back and make comparisons of each firing.”
For more information, contact Curry or Kenney at (928) 328-6176.