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The Base Camp System Integration Laboratory, or SIL, at Fort Devens, Massachusetts (Image:...

The U.S. Army has opened a System Integration Laboratory (SIL) at Fort Devens, Massachusetts, modeled after forward operating bases in Iraq and Afghanistan to test technologies aimed at creating more energy-efficient base camps. The various energy-efficient technologies being tested are expected to reduce base camp fuel requirements by 20 percent or more and water demand by up to 75 percent.  Read More

Newly-created polymers liquefy and fill in scratches when exposed to UV light, then resoli...

Nobody likes scratches in their car's finish. That's part of the reason why over the years, a number of research facilities have tried to develop self-healing paint. These efforts have resulted in products containing things such as microcapsules that burst open when scratched, elastic resins, and even a chemical derived from the exoskeletons of crustaceans. Now, scientists from the U.S. and Switzerland have developed polymers – which could be used in paint – that heal their own scratches when exposed to ultraviolet light.  Read More

The Individual Gunshot Detector (IGD) uses the sound waves generated by enemy gunfire to p...

In the heat of battle I imagine things can get pretty hectic and pinpointing just where the shooting is coming from as quickly as possible could mean the difference between life and death. To give its soldiers an edge in this regard the U.S. Army will begin providing its forces in Afghanistan with the first of 13,000 gunshot detection systems later this month. The Individual Gunshot Detector (IGD) uses the sound waves generated by enemy gunfire to instantaneously determine the location and distance toward the enemy fire.  Read More

Robotics company Boston Dynamics has been awarded a contract to develop a military quadrup...

It would be scary to be chased by a military robot. It would also be scary to be chased by a cheetah. So, imagine what it would be like to have a military robotic cheetah sprinting after you. Such a scenario could one day be possible, as robotics company Boston Dynamics recently announced that America’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded it a contract to design and build such a ... critter. The contract also includes the creation of an agile, bipedal humanoid robot. It’s hard to say which one might ultimately be creepier.  Read More

Illustration depicting an XM395 Accelerated Precision Mortar Initiative round closing in o...

Mortars have existed for hundreds of years, proving extremely useful in World War I where the high angle of flight of the shells made them an ideal weapon for the muddy trenches of the Western Front. The weapon’s simplicity coupled with the ease with which it can be transported and operated means mortars are still in common use today but, although methods of calculating azimuth and elevation angles for targeting have improved, their greatest weakness still remains their lack of accuracy. Mortars are now moving into the 21st Century with U.S. Soldiers in Afghanistan set to receive a first-of-its-kind, GPS-guided 120mm mortar munition that can pinpoint targets at ranges of up to 6,300 m (20,669 ft).  Read More

A Patriot Missile system (Image: Darkone via Wikipedia Commons)

Want to learn how to launch a Patriot missile? Turns out there’s an app for that. Incorporating video of actual Patriot Missile crews in action as well as 3D animation and illustrations, C² Technologies, Inc.’s Patriot Missile mobile app trains Patriot missile crews how to position and ready the Patriot missile system to launch and fire. The app is designed to not only provide training for soldiers at any time and any place, but also to offer access to critical information in the field.  Read More

The Cougar20-H surveillance robot

The Cougar20-H is a remote-controlled surveillance robot that is so sensitive it can not only detect motion through walls but, to ensure no one goes unnoticed, it can also detect the breathing of a stationary person. Packing a fine beam ultra-wideband (UWB), multi-Gigahertz radio frequency (RF) sensor array as well as multiple integrated cameras for day and night time visibility, the Cougar20-H was designed by surveillance imaging specialist TiaLinx to provide improved situational awareness to soldiers while keeping them out of harm’s way.  Read More

BEAR is an all-terrain, search-and-rescue humanoid robot that can lift and carry up to 500...

The U.S. Army is currently testing a robot designed to locate, lift and carry wounded soldiers out of harm’s way without risking additional lives. With feedback from its onboard sensors and cameras, the Battlefield Extraction-Assist Robot (BEAR) can be remotely controlled through the use of a special M-4 rifle grip controller or by hand gestures using an AnthroTronix iGlove motion glove. This equipment would allow a soldier to direct BEAR to a wounded soldier and transport them to safety where they can be assessed by a combat medic.  Read More

An integration exercise will feature Apache helicopter pilots controlling Shadow (pictured...

The U.S. Army is planning the largest ever demonstration of its Manned Unmanned Systems Integration Concept (MUSIC). The technology, which we first covered back in 2006, allows pilots to control the payload of a nearby Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) from the cockpit of an Apache Attack helicopter. The demonstration to be held at Dougway Proving Ground, Utah, is aimed at analyzing the progress of evolving manned-unmanned teaming technologies and will showcase level-4 UAS interoperability, which includes the ability to control the payload and view feeds from UAS systems in real-time from the cockpit.  Read More

Raytheon XOS 2: second generation exoskeleton

The widespread usage of exoskeletal robotics to augment human beings moved a step closer this week when Raytheon demonstrated its second generation Exoskeleton, the XOS 2. The new robotic suit (think of it as wearable robot guided by a human brain) is lighter, faster and stronger than the original proof-of-concept XOS 1, yet uses half the power. While Raytheon's development is primarily focused on military usage, exoskeletons for the mobility-impaired are already at market and industrial exoskeletons from Japan, Korea and Isreal are not far behind. One day in the not too distant future, one of these suits will enable us all to have superhuman strength, speed and endurance.  Read More

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