US Navy and Marine Corps Win Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award

A US Navy civilian engineer and two of his Marine Austere Patrolling System (MAPS) colleagues received a Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award at a New York ceremony, the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) announced Oct. 22.

Popular Mechanics honored Eric South – the NSWCDD lead electrical engineer for MAPS – for his role in developing the system as an individual, wearable power management and distribution system, enabling Marines to patrol longer without resupply.

South collaborates on MAPS with Marine Capt. Anthony Ripley, science and technology lead at the U.S. Marine Corps Expeditionary Energy Office, and Phillip Jenkins, Naval Research Laboratory MAPS solar scientist, who were also honored at the Oct. 7 gala event.

The system features an advanced solar panel and a water filtration system. It integrates flat-form batteries and provides a central source of electrical energy that can be adapted to any equipment’s electrical requirements.

Common electronics the vest can power for Marines include gear such as radios, night-vision goggles, global positioning system, laptops and universal serial bus powered equipment.

The next evolution of MAPS is called the Joint Infantry Company Prototype.

In addition to South, Ripley and Jenkins, Popular Mechanics honored inventors of the world’s first 3D-printed car, and a premade skyscraper. High school and middle school students were also recognized with the magazine’s Next Generation Award for achievements that will help improve lives of the visually impaired, aging society, and more.

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Press release, Image: US Navy