How can soldiers on the ground see around corners and shoot without exposing their position? The Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS) program envisions a family of high-tech gear including sensors, aerial drones and manned and unmanned ground vehicles, all fully networked and linked to individual soldiers. Click here for a tour of the equipment.
The U.S. Department of Defense issued a memo Friday that states it intends to begin blocking network access--including that of soldiers serving overseas--to several popular "Internet entertainment sites" on Monday, according to the Associated Press. The 12 total sites to be blocked include several large social networking and media sharing sites like MySpace, YouTube, MTV, Pandora, and Photobucket.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Army cracked down on soldiers' personal blogs, citing security concerns. Operational security, according to the memo from the DoD that was cited in Monday's AP article, is also a reason behind the … Read more
Not everyone's gadget craving can be satiated by Hello Kitty pirates or Barbie MP3 players. If you've ever wondered what military folk dream of finding under their Christmas trees, you might wander the aisles of the Navy Opportunity Forum being held this week in Arlington, Va.
This year's show featured all sorts of unmanned aerial vehicles that can be used to fly (or swim) up ahead to check out potentially dangerous areas while their human operators stay at a safe distance.
Let's not delude ourselves. These things don't come cheap. This one, from Lite Machines, … Read more
The Army has ordered a halt on soldiers' blogs.
A new directive requires U.S. soldiers to consult a commander before every post to a personal blog, Wired reports.
The rules could even extend to comments on Internet message boards, resumes or letters home, the article states.
Releasing classified information has, of course, always been prohibited, but observers say the new rules focus on seemingly innocuous information that may be revealing to enemies.
Blog community response:
"It's been a constant struggle for the services to balance the rights of free speech with the genuine need to keep information … Read more
There's no easy way to clear a path through a minefield. Options range from tracked vehicles pummeling the ground with whirling flails to individual soldiers gingerly poking the ground and then defusing mines one by one. The Defense Department, cognizant of the need for both speed and safety in beach landings and other operations, is looking at another alternative--masses of small darts raining down on suspect terrain.
iRobot pretty much has both ends of the robot spectrum covered: cute, household cleaning robots and industrial-strength military robots. Monday's announcement that iRobot and Boeing will team up on a military/civilian/commercial robot falls somewhere in the middle.
The Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle, nicknamed SUGV Early, will weigh less than 30 pounds. That's smaller than iRobot's line of robots currently in use in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts to search buildings, caves and tunnels and disarm Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
The SUGV Early will perform reconaissance and gather intelligence while operators stand out of harm's … Read more
The competition for robots in hostile situations has never been hotter, so manufacturers are understandably trying whatever they can to distinguish themselves. But rather than focus on more common attributes such as speed and power, Japan's Topy is opting for agility.
The company has introduced two new "crawler robots" designed to negotiate tight spaces, such as under floors, with a large LCD built into their controllers for close inspection. To get them down to more manageable fighting weights, Fareastgizmos says Topy lightened its crawler belts by 25 percent. But the larger model can still climb over gaps … Read more
We spend a lot of time on Crave fawning over adorable robots that clean our floors or serve us beer. But what about the real robots? The robots with nasty jobs. The kind of robots that make Asimo tremble like a bed-wetting toddler. Frankly, I'm relieved that robot engineers are taking a break from creating another boring domestic robot servant to make something useful like the life-saving Robokiyu. Sure, it looks like a human wood chipper, but the Robokiyu might actually pull you from a burning building. Let's see your Robosapiendo that! Then this week, Korean police got … Read more
If this looks like something that was made for military specifications, there's good reason--it was. But despite the macho appearance, it's not as exciting as an assault-rifle scope or anything. (Unless, that is, you get excited by flashlights, in which case we already have way too much information.)
The waterproof and shockproof "Tactical Blue-Dot" series from Bright-Strike Technologies--the proud manufacturer of "tactical illumination products"--was originally designed for law enforcement. And though it may not be a weapon per se, it can be used as a defensive device: "When set to high, these … Read more
The chip is connected to the brain with hair-thin electrodes implanted in key brain locations. Scientists then use a computer to order the bird to fly right or left and up or down.
The research is "military and intelligence" related, paralleling similar work by scientists with "Swiss Army homing pigeons" and sharks by the US Navy.
The Chinese scientists have … Read more