The Defense Department announced a new partnership focused on using machine learning technology to allow anyone--even those without any medical background--to treat burn wounds on the battlefield. In a sole source contract with the Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Clinic at the University of California, Irvine, the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research will conduct research in using machine learning algorithms to assess the severity of burn wounds in conjunction with a combination of imaging techniques, specifically Spatial Frequency Domain Imaging and Laser Speckle Imaging systems. "There is a critical unmet need for far-forward triage and monitoring tools that enhance battlefield diagnostics for burn wounds by non-burn experts," the contract announcement reads. "Whilst burns, particularly in their early stages, are dynamic and often evolving, they are influenced by secondary comorbidities." The specific technology requested by USAISR is intended to develop portable devices that can map a 3-D profile of burned skin surfaces and regions to determine burn severity "in the hands of non-expert personnel at the point of injury."