The military has the best toys – things we could only imagine in our wildest dreams. The military creates, tests and deploys technology toys, from lucrative spy planes to robotic companions, the military is making astonishing advancements. Check out the latest in military technology we know about so far, and remember, these are only what they allow us to see.
Remember the days of Looney Tunes when the bullets maneuvered around corners to find their intended targets? Well, the military has employed a similar technology. Military snipers in war zones face challenging conditions that reduce visibility and make it difficult to hit moving targets, so DARPA created self-steering bullets, EXACTO, that increase target accuracy. The technology uses optical guidance to change the bullet’s intended course, regardless of poor visibility or interference.
The military has been playing with exoskeletons for a variety of functions. One of the newest exoskeleton technologies is the Army’s shot-stabilizing design. Sensors and a series of cables ensure the soldier’s arm is steady and ready to improve accuracy of every shot fired. The MAXFAS, Mobile Arm Exoskeleton for Firearm Aim Stabilization, senses trembling and steadies the shot, without restricting the soldier’s ability to move the arm and shoot at other targets. The device permits soldiers to shoot as far away as more than three football fields. The accuracy can save ammunition, improve response time and accuracy, and possibly save lives as well.
Last month, MIT revealed the military-funded DARPA Cheetah robot. The robotics lab created a robotic companion that runs and jumps over hurdles. The Cheetah is capable of tackling multiple hurdles autonomously, and it can run while untethered. While running, the 70-lbs robotic Cheetah can scale 18-inch hurdles at 5 miles per hour, and the speed increases to 13 miles per hour when on a flat surface.
You may remember the robotic pack mule form 2012 that Boston Dynamics developed to carry combat gear for soldiers across rugged terrain, dense foliage and across long distances.
Artificial Limbs for Wounded Vets
The military is also concerned about the vets that make it home with debilitating injuries. DARPA is currently working on an artificial limbs project that would restore limb use to many vets who faced amputation on the battlefield. The HAPTIX project, Hand Proprioception and Touch Interfaces, is engineering a prosthesis that works directly with the body’s nervous system and the vet’s brain. Just as we use our brain to move and feel objects, so would vets who suffered limb-loss. A challenge with limb loss is phantom limb pain, and DARPA hopes to eliminate the pain and loss of use. The limb is designed to feel natural and to be worn at all times. The limb technology allows vets to live comfortable lives and others to return to service if they desire.