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A lightning bolt travels horizontally down a plasma channel from the LIPC before deviating...

Thought that title might get your attention, but shooting lightning bolts down laser beams is just what a device being developed at the Picatinny Arsenal military research facility in New Jersey is designed to do. Known as a Laser-Induced Plasma Channel, or LIPC, the device would fry targets that conduct electricity better that the air or ground that surrounds them by steering lightning bolts down a plasma pathway created by laser beams.  Read More

Aside from state-of-the-art graphics, the Unreal Engine 3 already has a plethora of progra...

Video game developer, Epic Games, is known for giving players realistic experiences thanks to its popular Unreal Engine platform. But while games like Batman: Arkham City and Gears of War are certainly entertaining, virtually beating up thugs and fighting subterranean creatures doesn't exactly translate into real world skills. However a new agreement with teaching software developer, Virtual Heroes, could see Epic's platform used to create more practical experiences and train medical staff and law enforcement officers to handle high-stress situations. By using Epic's Unreal Engine 3, some United States government agencies like the FBI and US Army are hoping to give their employees tools for virtually practicing their skills in a more realistic environment and better prepare them to save lives.  Read More

The Protective Under Garment - or PUG - designed to protect the pelvic region of dismounte...

When it comes to the many “life-changing” injuries that can result from an IED blast, the loss of a limb is probably the first one that springs to mind. But injuries to the pelvic region that leave soldiers with the inability to have children can obviously be just as devastating. That’s why the U.S. Army has developed a Pelvic Protection System - dubbed “Kevlar boxers” or “combat underpants” by some soldiers - to protect dismounted soldiers patrolling Afghanistan roads.  Read More

JAGM fit check (Photo: Lockheed Martin)

With the announcement of the successful testing of a sophisticated Pneumatic Cooling System (PCS) by Lockheed Martin and industry partner Marotta Controls in December, the highly versatile Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) weapons system is a step closer to deployment in the field.  Read More

Boston Dynamics has released a video of its bipedal humanoid PETMAN robot, performing a va...

If you were tasked with testing clothing that was designed to protect soldiers from chemical weapons, it goes without saying that you wouldn't dress an actual person up in those clothes, then fire chemicals at them. If you just put those clothes on an inanimate mannequin, however, it wouldn't provide any information on how effective those clothes were when in motion, or in a wide variety of body positions. Well, that's where Boston Dynamics' PETMAN (Protection Ensemble Test Mannequin) humanoid robot comes in. The self-balancing clothes-testing machine can walk, run, crouch, and even do push-ups. Today, PETMAN's creators released the first-ever public video of the robot being put through its paces - and it's pretty impressive.  Read More

A Soldier throws a Recon Robotics Recon Scout Throwbot XT robot

Robots are a perfect tool to provide soldiers in the field with “eyes” on a potentially hazardous situation without placing themselves in harm’s way. With soldiers often operating in difficult terrain or entering buildings, the easiest way to get such robots into place is to throw them. Currently, many units use a small tactical robot called the Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle 320 that is equipped with video reconnaissance technology. However, this robot weighs 32 pounds (14.5 kg) so the call has been put out for a lighter robot that is more easily transportable by dismounted units on the move and is able to be thrown into forward locations such as buildings and caves. To this end, the U.S. military is set to put three different types of lightweight, “throwable” robots through a series of combat assessments in Afghanistan.  Read More

The Hybrid Air Vehicles heavy-lifter in Discovery Air livery

The famous and well documented Hindenburg disaster of 1937, when the hydrogen-filled airship burst into flames whilst attempting to tether to its moorings in New Jersey, killed off the 'lighter-than-air' aircraft industry, as well as 35 unfortunate souls. Since the 1970's however, a determined band of, mostly British, aviation engineers has been battling to design and build a commercially viable 'air vehicle'. Many false starts, experimental craft and research projects followed (funded mostly by the U.S. military) but viability remained elusive, until now.  Read More

The SMSS Block I variant is heading to Afghanistan for a military evaluation

As a result of winning the Project Workhorse Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) competition sponsored by the U.S. Army, four Lockheed Martin Squad Mission Support System (SMSS) vehicles will be sent to Afghanistan as part of a three-month Military Utility Assessment (MUA). The 11-foot-long (3.3 m) SMSS, which can carry more than half-a-ton of a squad’s equipment on rugged terrain, will be the largest autonomous ground vehicle ever to be deployed with infantry.  Read More

Long Distance Tele-Operation technology will allow UGVs such as the TALON robot to be cont...

The U.S. military is currently able to operate unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in far away countries from the U.S., while ground robotic systems such as the TALON can be remotely operated at distances of up to 1,000 m (3,280 ft). Now U.S. Army engineers have provided unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) with the long distance tele-operation capabilities of a UAS to allow them to be controlled from anywhere in the world and keep soldiers even further out of harm’s way.  Read More

Maj. Brian Egloff puts a sock on an 8-year-old Afghan boy to aid the fitting of the protot...

While we’ve covered many developments in the field of prosthetics, such high-tech advances are beyond the reach of those in the developing world where the rates of amputation due to war are highest. Now U.S. Army soldiers stationed in Afghanistan have developed a simple prototype prosthetic leg that can be constructed using local resources to allow the victims of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and land mines to get back on their feet quickly and cheaply.  Read More

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