Defense Industry Spotlight: MSPO 2016 and Cyber Cell Technology
Last month I visited Poland’s major defense show, MSPO, for the first time. Because I’d visited DSEI in London last year I was familiar with the military grandeur that you only experience at one of these big defense industry events. But the difference at MSPO is that although it’s huge and the general investment in the show is visible, it’s much more hands-on. The event has grown in its 24 years to become the third largest defense show in Europe.
I came away wanting to share what I’d learned from meeting lots of great people and discovering some eye-opening new technology.
Cyber Cell Technology
Among the companies selling tanks, helicopters and substance detectors I got talking to Dr Michal Manka from the university of Krakow who is involved in recently-patented cybernetic artificial cells called ARTCell. Andrzej Pietrzyk, the inventor, has created miniature bio-electronic cells that self-construct to create larger entities that can be sent into a battle or disaster zone to perform a range of tasks. They can withstand damage from assault and reconstruct themselves by discarding their damaged cells and then re-tasking existing cells. It sounds like the stuff of science fiction movies.
For example in an earthquake, a batch of cells can be sent in through the rubble in a snake like-structure to search for survivors, and can then communicate the location back to the search team outside the building. In the same scenario, another group of different cells can be sent into a building and construct itself to provide structural reinforcement. Dr Manka talked of examples such as bridge construction, space projects, and many more futuristic possibilities. ARTCell technology has some way to go before it reaches the application stage, but with the help of technology partnerships and investment the future looks optimistic.
Polish Defense Industry
From a local perspective, since the new Polish government came into power in November 2015 the defence industry has experienced some changes. Those within the PGZ national group of preferred companies continue to thrive, although the story is a little different for the private companies outside of this collective. As you would expect, if you’re not on that preferred supplier list, life is hard.
Zuken in the Defense Industry
This year we’ve been very active in the defense industry in Poland for the simple reason that we know the industry and its electrical and electronics design challenges (check out this blog post from a few months back that focuses on electrical design challenges in the defense industry). This movie is quite useful for explaining our capabilities too.
As for MSPO, we’ll be back! Not just for the chance to pose by the latest military technology (yes I’m guilty too), but for the insight and excellent networking.