Fighter Planes and Video Games

While many federal agencies are looking at ways they can use private-sector technology to become more efficient, the nation's biggest federal contractor is finding ways to sell technology developed for the U.S. government to private firms.

"Government programs have spawned many important technological achievements that are key to our commercial projects," says Brian Dailey, vice president for business development at Lockheed Martin, which tops Government Executive's ranking of the Top 200 Federal Contractors with nearly $18 billion in federal contracts last year.

Real 3D, a Lockheed Martin company, has partnered with Sega Enterprises, Ltd., the largest maufacturer of arcade systems in the world, to adapt simulation technology used for training military pilots, astronauts and ground troops to make video arcade graphics more realistic. Real 3D created the latest generation of Sega's arcade graphics hardware, making scenes in the latest video games more lifelike.

Real 3D was also selected by Intel to develop a 3D graphics chip to integrate into all of Intel's future personal computer motherboards. In addition, Real 3D has teamed up with Chips and Technologies to create a 3D graphics chip for notebook computers.

Lockheed Martin's Information Systems division is taking its fingerprint identification technology to the private sector. The Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), developed for the FBI, will be able to process more than 48,000 searches a day by the year 2000. The fingerprint repository at the FBI will include about 400 million criminal fingerprints.

Civilian applications for fingerprint technology are expected to boom in the coming decades. They could include verification for credit card and banking transactions, collection of unemployment compensation and health insurance and screening job applicants, particularly those in child care, for criminal histories.

In 1997 Lockheed Martin is scheduled to open a fingerprint registry that will provide organizations with a central database of fingerprints for identification and verification to prevent fraud and perform background checks on applicants.

Lockheed Martin is based in Bethesda, Md., and employs 190,000 people worldwide, with annual sales of nearly $30 billion.

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