The Department of Software Engineering at Shenkar from a Security Perspective Part I: Real-Time Warfare

The Department of Software Engineering at Shenkar has developed a line in defense and security, which facilitates and promotes graduate projects with an intelligence/security aspect in cooperation with IDF bodies, the Military Intelligence Directorate, and well-known security companies.

The Department of Software Engineering is also encouraging the development of new ideas and entrepreneurial projects in these areas.

Students in the Department of Software Engineering include active-duty soldiers, soldiers in education programs, soldiers released after completing a period of permanent service, and graduates of technology units such as Unit 8200 and 9900, the Center of Computing and Information Systems, and Ofek.

Recently, the department collaborated with the Unit 9900 Alumni Association and held a live event on Facebook for Unit 9900 graduates, in which department head Dr. Yonit Rusho talked to the graduates about her personal journey, from her time as a student at Shenkar to her hi-tech exit and her postdoctoral research in collaboration with the Institute for the Research of the Methodology of Intelligence (IRMI) in the IDF.

At the same time, the department hosts guest lectures on security issues related to the final projects, including lectures about aerial photograph identification, the analysis and presentation of typological information on maps, and more.

Over the past few years, many students in the Department of Software Engineering have chosen to focus their final projects on a variety of military and security issues. These students have come up with fascinating objectives such as facilitating decision-making during on-the-ground warfare, improving training arrangements and processes, strengthening accurate firing capabilities, expanding aerial photo processing capabilities, analyzing enemy discourse on social media, identifying false profiles, and more. These projects were born out of a sense of duty and the desire to learn and contribute on significant security issues; choosing issues of cyber-security reflects the desire for a significant engineering challenge.

One of the projects in this field is RUTH, created by students Tomer Lotan, Noa Eylon, Netta Richer, and Sagi Granot, supervised by Dr. Yonit Rusho and Dr. Amit Resh, and in collaboration with the IDF Intelligence Directorate.

The system shares information among field agents that assists in the decision-making process and improves environmental awareness during battle administration and procedures. Today, military systems are loaded with raw data coming in from various reports and sources. Our system processes this information and presents it to fighters on the ground in such a way that they get an up-to-date situation report from a quick glance. The system provides clear, easy-to-understand visualization for soldiers in the field and reduces the chance that information will be misinterpreted or missed.

I interviewed Tomer Lotan, one of the project’s developers.

Tomer, could you tell us a bit about the project, and how you came up with the idea for it?

“RUTH is a geographical orientation system that provides a situation report of what is happening in the field in real time, thus improving environmental awareness and facilitating decision making.”

How did it all begin?

“Our project was born as part of a collaboration with the Intelligence Corps. They told us about their need for an upgraded military system for conducting on-the-ground combat which enables the possibility of seeing what’s happening in real time, even from a distance.

“Following the explanations of their needs, we held a number of meetings with officers in the corps who presented us with the requirements for a system that would help forces on the ground understand the threats facing them and how to act accordingly. Out of this need, the idea for the RUTH system was formulated.

“The process of working on our final project ultimately gave us so much. Creating a system like this from scratch, planning it down to the last detail, implementing what we had designed on paper in the real world, and finally, standing on stage and presenting it to an audience made us all incredibly proud!”

Another project in this field is the ARMS project, created by students Ben Reich, Dor Malka, Tal Chausho, and Igal Tsesis, and supervised by Dr. Amit Resh. This project also deals with major problems that come up during military combat.

ARMS is aimed at addressing situations of chaos and loss using an innovative system for managing forces on the ground and providing communication capabilities in unusually extreme conditions. The project’s engineers served in combat units in the IDF, and thus are uniquely equipped to identify the special needs of a combat unit and provide a focused, high-quality solution.

The project was extensively reviewed on the Globes website.

The MOTOCOM project, created by students Daniel Ben-Tzvi and Michael Lachower (supervised by Dr. Yigal Hoffner and in collaboration with the Department of Industrial Design), also deals with real-time, on-the-ground military tactics, and was carried out in collaboration with Motorola Solutions Israel.

The goal: a system for silent communication among soldiers in combat, which operates using a set of color and vibration messages: fire, cease fire, retreat, distress.

The system enables communication between the soldiers, the commander, and the operations room.

The DRONE MESH project, by Shai Malka and Golan Sabo and supervised by Dr. Amit Resh, was carried out in collaboration with Motorola Solutions Israel. Its purpose is to control a swarm of drones in a disaster-stricken area using the MESH network, which increases the radio range.

Two other projects that deal with real-time assistance for fighters on the ground:

MOTO EMS: in collaboration with Motorola Solutions Israel. The aim of the project is to streamline the documentation and transfer of medical information during the treatment of a multi-casualty incident, using a voice interface, speech recognition, and camera and cloud services.

Students: Yotam Akshota and Majd Nawatha.

Supervisor: Prof. Emanuel Gruengard.

MOTO RECON-AR: in collaboration with Motorola Solutions Israel. A HoloLens headset which uses augmented reality (AR) to allow fighters to mark a target with their finger and share the target position with other fighters (and the command post) in real time while calculating the relative position and line of sight.

Students: Yogev Heskia, Nir Ziv, Ori Amuday.

Supervisors: Dr. Amnon Dekel and Dr. Yigal Hoffner.

The follow-up article will present additional projects involving the military that deal with various issues and goals for assisting the army, including outside of combat situations.

Written by Maya Riklis

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