What’s better than packaging an incapacitating, “less-lethal” electric shock device in a shotgun shell so it can be fired from a conventional firearm? If you answered a bigger, longer-range electric shock device that can be fired from a 40-millimeter grenade launcher, then you and the Pentagon share similar sensibilities.
Manned Air Force jets and drones could soon send high quality video and audio by using ultra-high bandwidth lasers, transmitting critical battlefield data faster than ever. The Air Force Office of Scientific Research has conducted experiments that transmit data without interference across almost 22 miles, both in the air and on the ground.
It's often said that a soldier's greatest weapon is his head; now, the U.S. Army plans to sharpen that weapon, installing radar in troops' combat helmets, upgrading one of the oldest pieces of infantry armor into an effective tactical device.
The Helmet Mounted Radar Program aims to provide a near-360-degree field for Moving Target Indicator (MTI) radar sensors that is low-power and can detect a moving threat as far out as 25 meters. The sensor should be integrated into the combat helmet and weigh less than two-and-a-half pounds, with less than a pound mounted on the helmet itself.
The latest innovation to come out of the Boston Dynamics labs is the Petman--a two-legged, upright robot that simulates the walking motion of human beings. And like its quadruped cousin the BigDog, this thing is equally creepy/hilarious (check out the shoes).
New augmented reality goggles are helping Marine mechanics perform maintenance on vehicles in about half the usual time. The futuristic headgear displays precise instructions on top of real-world settings, and shows how to complete certain tasks, such as wiring up an ignition coil.
Google's Android operating system for cell phones could allow soldiers to track fellow squad members and even unmanned drones in real time on a map -- as long as the humans and robots are on their buddy list.
Got a great idea for an antibody biosensor but unsure what to do with it? Darpa wants you. The Department of Defense's future-tech wing is seeking proposals for its newly inaugurated Antibody Technology Program, the latest bid for technologies that can pinpoint specific biological agents ranging from bioterror threats to swine flu.
Twitterati and other netizens should already know that their Internet musings are public and could potentially become fodder for intelligence analysts. But now U.S. spy agencies have officially invested in a software firm that monitors social media and half a million web 2.0 sites daily.
Emergency medical care for soldiers wounded on the battlefield has come a long way since Hawkeye and Hot Lips. But for Special Forces troopers operating deep behind enemy lines, that care often remains out of reach. Blood loss in particular makes seconds count, and imperils commandos operating far away from friendly bases.
To help with the problem of blood loss from traumatic wounds, the military has started field-testing a device more Mandalorian than M.A.S.H.: a plasma knife.