A Digital Foundation Built on VMware Supports Breakthrough Innovation

At VMware, we believe in the power of technology to help innovators solve some of the world’s toughest challenges. Today, organisations the world over are using a digital foundation built on software-defined data center, cloud, networking and security solutions to support and enable the life-saving and life-changing work of their students, researchers, partners and employees. Over the coming months, we’ll feature a few of them here.


Draper: Pushing New Boundaries

From outer space to inner cells, Cambridge, Mass.-based Draper partners with VMware and Dell Technologies to push boundaries and deliver new capabilities for commercial businesses, governments and research agencies. Draper relies on cloud innovations from VMware to develop advanced technology solutions to problems in national security, space exploration, healthcare and energy. With a digital foundation from VMware, Draper engineers, researchers and business staff boost productivity, innovate faster and reduce costs. 

Some of Draper’s recent innovations include enabling humans to climb surfaces mimicking a gecko lizard and creating solar backpacks for dragonflies. 


How can researchers track insects and small animals so they can better understand behavior in the wild? By strapping solar-powered backpacks on their backs. Insect-sized mechanical drones aren’t as efficient at producing lift, stabilising flight and storing energy as their live counterparts. So Draper researchers figured out a way to control a live dragonfly through a special backpack. Researchers get first-hand data from the dragonflies so scientists can better monitor the influence of environmental changes and help guide policies to protect important ecosystems.


How can soldiers scale walls of varying types—from smooth glass to rough concrete blocks—without the use of ropes or ladders? By using a system for wall-climbing that uses pistons, suction cups and a gecko skin-like surface. Draper researchers developed the climbing system for the Z-man program, a research initiative sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). 


By its nature, climbing a wall is a challenge for humans given their generally weak upper body strength, who consequently must carry or use equipment like ladders that can be heavy, cumbersome and limiting to mobility. 


Draper has changed that by developing lightweight climbing systems that users carry with them as they climb, reducing the need for bulky equipment and greatly increasing mobility.


Elekta: Innovating in Radiation Oncology

A medical device called Gamma Knife from Elekta of Sweden is considered the world’s gold standard radiosurgery for the treatment of complex brain conditions, such as brain cancer. Invented 50 years ago, Elekta continues to refine the technology with new innovations, developing an ecosystem of advanced software solutions to support it. More than 6,000 hospitals around the world have treated more than one million patients with Gamma Knife, which contrary to its name does not make incisions, but instead uses multiple narrow beams of radiation to target specific areas. The procedure is often carried out during a single out-patient session, with the patient reclining on a couch listening to relaxing music. 

To help it improve its global network infrastructure and prepare for future growth, Elekta relies on VMware NSX SD-WAN to connect its 28 global locations and advance its push into the cloud. 


“As an innovation leader in radiation oncology, Elekta always strives to provide the most secure IT solutions and to be on the forefront of new technology,” says Martin Kerkhoven, vice president, Information Technology at Elekta. “The ability to quickly and securely integrate and build out various cloud services positions us for future growth and optimised deployments of applications and cloud services.”


How Do You Innovate?

Tell us what innovations your organisation is pursuing with the help of a digital foundation built on VMware. We would love to share your story.  Or learn more about how to build a foundation for your innovative digital business. ▪

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