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Army Senior Scientist Stephen Lee: Interdisciplinary Collaboration Leads to Innovation

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Stephen Lee
Stephen Lee Senior Scientist Army Research Office

Stephen Lee, senior scientist for interdisciplinary sciences at the U.S. Army Research Office, said innovation mostly stems from the combination of multiple scientific disciplines. The scientist noted that interdisciplinary collaboration opens opportunities to engage in new research areas that may support soldier performance, the Army said Thursday.

“With the different perspectives not being tied to an individual approach, we can combine ideas and provide comprehensive operationalization of the sciences in our programs,” Lee said.

He referenced the Fido explosives detector that Nomadics, now part of Flir Systems, further developed for the Army. Fido is designed to detect explosive vapors.

Lee supported Fido's development in the early 2000s based on research made by Timothy Swager with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The technology uses algorithms based on the behaviors of different animals including detection dogs. This externally led to the development of new equipment, including cameras and smart technology, to protect and support military detection dogs.

“I’m hopeful that, while we’re engaged at different levels as individuals in our own organizations, we can apply our technical expertise to new areas and really get deep down into the art of research and technology for the Soldier," Lee said.