Inspiration: Mission requirements for US special forces operators are very demanding in terms of edge computing and communications. Space, weight and power limitations caused by power needs may hinder the effectiveness of operators. We've solved several similar problems in IoT computing and energy management; this project presented a unique opportunity for us to apply our full portfolio of capabilities for an integrated solution.
What it does: TMEC2 is a modular computing and communications platform designed to be carried and used by individual special forces operators in austere environments which may be lacking in infrastructure. By merging computing and communications functions into existing commodity hardware, TMEC2 can greatly reduce space, weight and power requirements while increasing primary mission capabilities.
How we built it: We integrated open source hardware and software components into a novel architecture that significantly increases edge computing capabilities while reducing power consumption. By sharing hardware across multiple functions and implementing specific capabilities in software (e.g., software defined radios, software defined networks), we developed a solution that leveraged edge processing to reduce the data communication burden on crowded networks. By prototyping with Raspberry Pi configured into portable clusters running Kubernetes with Docker containers, we created a scalable, adaptable platform with less weight and much greater power efficiency.
Challenges we ran into: Understanding the breadth of operational scenarios and current capabilities. Mentors and advisors at the event were extremely helpful in assisting us.
Accomplishments that we're proud of: We were able to quickly develop a solution as a team. Each of us also gained a much greater understanding and appreciation of the unique challenges faced by our special operations forces.
What we learned: This hackathon gave us some incredible challenges that we never would have learned about otherwise.
What's next for TMEC2 (Tactical Modular Edge Computing & Communications): Continue development of the prototype for test and evaluation for both military and commercial markets.