The Department of Defense (DOD) is always looking for new ways to improve soldiers' abilities to do everything from gather intelligence to avoid battlefield hazards, and the DOD has teamed up with Duke University to make life easier for troops. The DOD sponsors research performed at Duke that encompasses mathematics, engineering and biology, among many other subjects, reports American Forces Press Service.

The many projects undertaken by Duke researchers range from identifying illnesses early to developing cochlear implants that allow soldiers to hear better. One of the most ambitious studies involves metamaterials, which are sometimes more commonly referred to as an "invisibility cloak." Scientists believe the technology could be put to good use in a military setting.

"It's one thing to have a stealth fighter that’s hard to see," Dr. Jim Siedow, Duke's vice provost for research, told the news source. "It' s another thing to have an aircraft that literally can't be seen – by radar or the naked eye, depending on how you align it – even though it's there."

Duke is not the only big name to earn sponsorship from the DOD. Recently, Microsoft signed a $617 million contract with three agencies in the department to develop new software.