(Nov. 8, 2013) Students at Worcester Technical High School took a break from class to see a demonstration of Hardwire LLC’s new military vehicle prototype last Tuesday at the school.
The Pocomoke armor and engineering company designed the vehicle with soldiers’ needs and mobility in mind. Similar Hardwire vehicles are undergoing testing by the U.S. Army for everything from survivability under fire to a stress test at negative 60 degrees Fahrenheit, Hardwire’s Vice President of Manufacturing Rob Cosgriff said.
“What we hope is that it really inspires the students,” Cosgriff said. “That big pie-in-the-sky idea of making the world a better place, or in our case, safer — that’s what really draws kids.”
Three engineers who worked on the Hardwire concept vehicle came to the demonstration at the school, where they discussed the real-world applications of what students are learning in the classroom.
“I married together what they’re learning right now to paint it across our vehicle,” Cosgriff said.
The vehicle has an “occupant-centric design,” meaning designers created it with the needs of the solider in mind, he said. It borrows from two military vehicles, the Humvee (High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle) and the MARP (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle).
Cosgriff said the new design offers solider protection “an order of magnitude ahead of where we’re at now” in a smaller, more mobile package.
By testing vehicles like Hardwire’s, the military is able to see what works and find new technologies to incorporate into its designs, he said.
Events like the vehicle demo allow Hardwire to reach many students at once, Cosgriff said. “We could spend half a day and really touch the entire group of engineering kids.”
The company also exhibited its namesake hardwire — a product originally used for reinforcing buildings and infrastructure — and its bulletproof whiteboards, which piqued students’ interest.
Hardwire participated in a STEM camp sponsored by Worcester schools over the summer, thanks to its collaboration with Worcester County Economic Development, Cosgriff said.
“It’s really rewarding for us to be able to share technologies that we’re developing with future engineers in our community,” he said.