Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Military

Polarisation technology shows up the hidden trip wires in the image.

June 4, 2007 Silent, unmoving, millimetre-thin and extremely difficult to see, trip and command wires are frequently found on land mines, conventional munitions and many improvised explosive devices (IEDs). In a bid to increase troop and civilian safety in war zones, defense contractor QinetiQ has been given a UK£800,000 contract to produce and evaluate portable tripwire detection devices based on polarization technology that's showing positive results.  Read More

TASER and iRobot are collaborating on a TASER-shooting robot

June 3, 2007 Love them or hate them, TASER stun guns have become an essential and effective part of law enforcement armory. Perhaps their main drawback has been that even the long-range wireless shotgun-mounted TASER XREP puts a police officer within 30 feet of a potentially dangerous suspect before they're in range. Now, a new partnership between TASER and iRobot will see the construction of TASER-wielding robots that can be sent in to incapacitate violent suspects without ever exposing police officers to the risk of harm. What's more, TASER has released their Remote Area Denial (TRAD) system, an unmanned device that operates in a network to identify and incapacitate intruders in secured areas. It all points towards an interesting future with embedded moral implications; how long will it be until suspects are told "you have 15 seconds to comply?"  Read More

U.S. Defense report nervous on Chinese military capability

May 31, 2007 A new report from the US department of defense has raised concerns about China's growing military power, particularly in regard to cyber-warfare preparations and an expanding counter-space program. The report to congress entitled "Military Power of the People’s Republic of China" asserts that whilst Beijing continues to focus its military preparedness on the Taiwan Straits, it appears to be shifting its attention to arenas that may pose a greater threat to the rest of the world.  Read More

High altitude launch capability demonstrated for MK-54 torpedos

May 30, 2007 If there’s an absolute truth about military technology, it’s that it keeps getting more deadly with each passing year and the High Altitude ASW Weapons Concept (HAAWC) is a prime example. HAAWC employs the Lockheed Martin LongShot Wing Adapter Kit to allow the launch of torpedoes from high altitudes and long standoff ranges, allowing aircrews to remain beyond the reach of enemy air defences. Additionally, the manoeuvrability of the concept allows for off-axis launch of torpedoes at potential undersea targets preventing the need for the aircraft to manoeuvre.  Read More

Sellex's Sencion thread liquids detector - the flashing red light indicates the presence o...

May 29, 2007 Without going through the hassle of removing bottle-tops, staff at security checkpoints are unable to see the difference between a bottle of drinking water and a potential molotov cocktail - the solution has commonly been to prevent people from passing through checkpoints with bottles. Now there's a device that can instantly detect whether a bottle contains a potential threat liquid without taking the top off. The Senicon is already in use in Japan's Kansai International Airport - and it's currently under review by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for use in airports and other areas under threat of terrorist attacks.  Read More

The hand on the left is visible due to the presence of explosive material. The hand on the...

May 23, 2007 One of the telltale signs of an explosive crate, envelope or package is the tiny trace amounts of explosive chemicals the bomb-maker leaves on the outer of the package when he closes it. Trace quantities of explosives are very hard to wash off hands as well, which is the theory behind the XPAK, a new portable explosives detection unit that allows shipping officers and security personnel to quickly scan for trace quantities of explosives in the field.  Read More

The Taser X-26.

May 18, 2007 The taser: a convenient, effective non-lethal way of incapacitating a person, or a potential killer? Amidst claims of misuse, abuse and taser-related deaths, a new study has been undertaken to document the short and medium term physiological effects this painful and common law enforcement tool can have on subjects. Kudos to those who volunteered to be shocked; those five seconds would have felt like an eternity.  Read More

InnovaTek's compact, microchannel reformer

May 8, 2007 Acumentrics, a leading developer of solid-oxide fuel cells and uninterruptible power supplies for the distributed generation market, announced today that they have proven 1300 hours of fuel cell operation on synthetic JP-8 fuel. The synthetic JP-8 (“S-8”) Fischer-Tropsch fuel was provided by the Air Force Research Laboratory, and was produced as part of the DoD Assured Fuels Initiative. According to the company, this accomplishment marks one of the first fuel cell successes with heavy hydrocarbons in an extended run. Because Acumentrics’ ceramic fuel cells operate at high temperature, they accept lighter hydrocarbons such as propane and natural gas directly, and disassociate the fuel inside the cell, via in-situ reformation. For fuel cells to be of most use to the military, they must operate on heavy fuels. The heavy hydrocarbons in diesel and JP-8 require catalytic reforming before they can enter a cell. For this test the company employed a separate InnovaTek reformer (pictured).  Read More

Steve Nimmer, of Oshkosh Truck Corporation, (right) demonstrates the operation of the HEMT...

May 8, 2007 TPI Composites (TPI) has unveiled its new light-weight, all-composite truck cab. The cab was designed for the U.S. Army’s tactical wheeled vehicle fleet and addresses serious vehicle issues by being lighter in weight, highly durable, and strong enough to carry the heaviest of armor and mine blast protection. TPI’s lightweight, all-composite cab allows soldiers to carry more protective armor, ammunition, and equipment because it weighs hundreds of pounds less than cabs constructed with conventional materials.  Read More

F/A-18C/D Aircrew Flight Trainer in use by a US Marine pilot

April 30, 2007 It's the ultimate flight sim video game. 360 degree cockpit views, multiplayer, totally realistic instruments and the option to have a separate gunner in the back seat of your F/A-18 Hornet as you dogfight the others or engage in air-to-ground missions. Sadly, you'll need to sign your life away to play it.  Read More

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