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Military Tech for Daily Life

samzenpus posted more than 7 years ago | from the still-no-wave-motion-gun dept.

Technology 234

PreacherTom writes "It is nothing new to see technology from military and governmental endeavors change daily life profoundly. One only has to look at the fruits of the space program (from computers to microwave ovens to Tang). New military gear is on the horizon that promises to do the same, including biosensors, bandages that clot blood using soundwaves, and the ubiquitous Swiss Army Pen."

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Where is my home flamethrower? (5, Funny)

Asshat Canada (804093) | more than 7 years ago | (#17320910)

Books don't burn themselves ya know

Re:Where is my home flamethrower? (2, Funny)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321352)

I thought Yogurt released this years ago when he introduced, "Spaceballs: The Flame Thrower?" After all, the kids really loved that one,... ;-)

P.R. agency: The military is wonderful. (-1, Flamebait)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 7 years ago | (#17322286)

Fraud??? Definition: "A deception used to get unfair or unlawful gain." My guess is that some P.R. agency has a contract to try to get people to think good things about military expenditures, because Digg is also carrying a story about the wonderfulness of military behavior. The facts are this: Yes, trying to find new and more efficient ways of killing people sometimes accidentally gives some benefits to non-violent activities. However, the same amount of money spent on research would have brought far, far more.

Most of the U.S. military action since perhaps 1900 has been associated with trying to get some economic benefit for a few people who are able to manipulate the government. The U.S. government has invaded 24 countries [futurepower.org] since the 2nd World War.

This is my summary of U.S. government corruption, I would like to see other people make their own summaries: George W. Bush comedy and tragedy [futurepower.org] .

Military-tech always trickles down to civilians (5, Informative)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 7 years ago | (#17320912)

The obvious examples are the internet, GPS devices, super-glue, etc... (Incidentally, speaking of super-glue, it works very well for what the military originally had in mind for it, which is closing wounds: next time you have a bad cut, try it, it works wonders.)

Re:Military-tech always trickles down to civilians (0, Offtopic)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321004)

speaking of super-glue, it works very well for what the military originally had in mind for it, which is closing wounds: next time you have a bad cut, try it, it works wonders

I wouldn't have believed it. I remember reading a dodgy story about a guy who found his wife in bed with a man and by way of poetic justice superglued her hand to the guys you-know-what and the chemicals which diffused into his system killed him before the hospital could separate them

Now the story may have been made up but I would have thought that superglue in your system really would be bad news.

Do you have more info on this? I would hate for people to try this at home and find that only the special military glue is safe to squirt into open wounds.

Re:Military-tech always trickles down to civilians (5, Informative)

presentt (863462) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321052)

No, I think the parent poster is correct. I heard it was first used to close wounds in Vietnam, but was developed for other reasons. See cyanoacrylate [wikipedia.org] , the compound in most super glues.

Re:Military-tech always trickles down to civilians (4, Interesting)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321186)

Super Glue has the same ingredients are "Tissue Glue" they use after surgery instead of external stitches to close the skin. Using Tissue glue seems to help minimize the scars. I've also used it on my dogs to glue a wound together (small wound) and save a trip to the vet for stitches. Just using SuperGlue out of the tube could be risky as it may not be sterile and you could get a nasty infection, thats the only downside. The glue that is used to attach artifical fingernails is the same as SuperGlue so if you have some of that, it IS Sterile.

Re:Military-tech always trickles down to civilians (4, Informative)

humuhumunukunukuapu' (678704) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321816)

Re:Military-tech always trickles down to civilians (2, Informative)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 7 years ago | (#17322232)

Cyanoacrylate is the active ingredient, the organic solvents are just carriers and agents to speed up or retard the time for the glue to set. I KNOW the results are the same, I've done it with SG and the Fingernail glue.

Re:Military-tech always trickles down to civilians (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17321910)

Over the counter superglue is not the same as medical grade superglue. Medical grade is composed of 2-octyl cyanoacrylate ,has less of a thermal reaction,is more flexible,and is regulated by the FDA.

However, you can order the veterinary version on-line. It goes by NEXABAND® Liquid Topical Tissue Adhesive. Look it up in google. Good thing to throw in the first aid kit.

Re:Military-tech always trickles down to civilians (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#17322500)

Super Glue has the same ingredients are "Tissue Glue" they use after surgery instead of external stitches to close the skin.

I've had an accident with some quantity of super glue poured on my leg (don't ask). It hurted like pain and caused bad chemical burns, not exactly something you'd wanna pour into an open wound.

Re:Military-tech always trickles down to civilians (4, Funny)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#17322510)

It hurted like pain

Nice, another gem from the "don't post while still sleeping department"

Re:Military-tech always trickles down to civilians (2, Insightful)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321328)

I know a lot of guitarists use it to fix a split fingernail or a hangnail. It works well. Slap a bunch on to an inflamed hangnail or a cut and you can play painless in no time. Just remember to wait a few minutes till it is really dry or you'll be bending that note all night.

Re:Military-tech always trickles down to civilians (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 7 years ago | (#17322228)

I've done it. Works fine for closing small flaps and such from cuts I get doing mechanic work.

Re:Military-tech always trickles down to civilians (4, Funny)

jd (1658) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321032)

Yes yes yes, but what have the Romans ever done for us?

Re:Military-tech always trickles down to civilians (1)

Rorschach1 (174480) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321264)

Actually, I seem to remember that the original military use was an attempt to replace spider silk for crosshairs in weapon sights. Didn't work worth a damn for that (just stuck all the parts together), but it's found a lot of uses since then.

Actually ... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17321288)

Military-tech always trickles down to civilians


Actually sometimes it arrives to civilians in the trunk of some guy's car and for an excellent price. =)

Re:Actually ... (0, Troll)

baldass_newbie (136609) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321568)

I guess you got a crate of Abu Ghraib anal probes too, eh?
*nudge, nudge*
*wink, wink*

Re:Military-tech always trickles down to civilians (0, Flamebait)

no-body (127863) | more than 7 years ago | (#17322528)

Oh - don't forget the leftover clusterbomb remains, landmines, cleanup technologies and prosthetic innovations.


As for the claims of innovation effect with military development, watch it! They need more bodies to offer themselves. Seems to be another push to make military shine.


By my measures, putting a fraction of military expenses into research - the outcome of innovation in technologies would be higher.


Ordinary folk are taken for a ride by propaganda to hail the military; about time this changes....

military? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17320918)

denied the facts is already a part of everyones daily life, next story please..

Swiss Army Pen (2, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17320920)

That would be a laser to cut through doors, a satellite dish and viewscreen for watching the news, and a blade for slicing and dicing out of the most difficult situations. But does it still write?

Re:Swiss Army Pen (2, Funny)

jpardey (569633) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321230)

That would be an improvement over the Swiss Army Knife. I don't think I have ever cut much of anything with one of those.

Re:Swiss Army Pen (3, Informative)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321934)

Only the cheaply made ones are pieces of crap. I had a well made Vic that I used heavily for years. They made them to be useful instead of having a bunch of things on it (mine only had a blade, small and large screw drivers, punch, can opener, and bottle opener).

As a general rule, your best bets in my experience for swiss army knives are Victrinox and Gerber.

Re:Swiss Army Pen (1)

Mountaineer1024 (1024367) | more than 7 years ago | (#17322182)

My dad gave me a Victorinox original model (the basic one you described) 16 years ago and I carry it with me to this day. The screw drivers get about 200x more use than either blade. The only annoyance is that the South Australian police have the right to arrest you for carrying any "weapon" so I'll be a in a real "justify it" situation if a cop wants to be a real prick. And Weapon status is based on intent, not actual usefulness as a weapon (ie a pen could be considered a weapon).

Re:Swiss Army Pen (2, Funny)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 7 years ago | (#17322244)

I actually found mine when I was hiking one day, and carried it pretty much every day since up until a few years ago. I still have it. I just sort of retired it because the other knife that I started carrying fit my needs better at that point.

I've taken it over many hundreds of miles of hiking and more campsites that I can remember.

The blade held a decent edge, and the screwdrivers were extremely useful. It also had one of the best can openers on it that I've seen.

As far as weapon status here goes, you can carry pretty much any non-concealed non firearm where I am. Though I will admit that the sword gets a bit of a weird look from the local constabulary when I go to train at the lake.

Re:Swiss Army Pen (2, Funny)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321376)

When I saw this, the first thing I thought was, "when will ThinkGeek [thinkgeek.com] stock it? ;-)

Clotthes will call for help in a health emergency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17320952)

If it detects you're in trouble (health related or being mugged even). Your clothing will have a GPS and provide instant notification to the right folks. But of course there will have to be safeguards to ensure that such things cant be remotely activated.

When being mugged, I envision something that sprays a liquid into the air that binds with the breath of your assailant and captures some of his DNA. The chemical is flourescent and can be swabbed off the floor.

Re:Clotthes will call for help in a health emergen (2, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 7 years ago | (#17320978)

When being mugged, I envision something that sprays a liquid into the air that binds with the breath of your assailant and captures some of his DNA. The chemical is flourescent and can be swabbed off the floor.

Just remember not to breathe yourself until the forensics arrive to avoir contaminating the sample...

DNA can be isolated individually (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17321138)

You know that DNA is separate molecules right? You realize they can be separated and isolated? If there's two dna's in a given sample the one that isn't the victim is the mugger. There should be enough DNA captured assuming obviously there is some sort of tussive to make the person cough.

Re:DNA can be isolated individually (1)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 7 years ago | (#17322090)

You know that DNA is separate molecules right? You realize they can be separated and isolated? If there's two dna's in a given sample the one that isn't the victim is the mugger. There should be enough DNA captured assuming obviously there is some sort of tussive to make the person cough.
Please. Do you really think a spray that makes the mugger cough (required, if you want DNA and not just water vapor) is a good idea? You're better off with pepper spray to disable him so he can't hurt you while you run away. Besides, even if it did work, what the fuck are the cops going to do with a DNA sample? Look it up in that secret DNA file the Men in Black have compiled on every person in the world?

Re:Clotthes will call for help in a health emergen (3, Funny)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321006)

They make this device that projects a lump of solid metal (usually lead). It's quite effective at stopping a mugging. You should try it sometime.

(Police don't give a shit about catching some mugger. Do you really think they want a DNA sample?)

Private funding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17321236)

Then what about funding the search privately utilizing private investigators?
Assuming it's not always a mugger .. I sure as hell would think it's worth it to track down a kidnapper of someone I care about.

Re:Clotthes will call for help in a health emergen (1)

Torvaun (1040898) | more than 7 years ago | (#17322442)

Ah, to live in a state that has some provision for carrying concealed weaponry. We don't even have the option of obtaining permits.

QuikClot (5, Interesting)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 7 years ago | (#17320982)

You can get some of that military technology today, and it's not vaporware... Quikclot powder, comes in a packet designed to be large enough to quickly stop the bleeding from a severed femoral artery.

Useful stuff, stops bleeding very quickly. Expensive as hell though.

Re:QuikClot (4, Informative)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321248)

Not that expensive compared with bleeding out. I'd gladly pay a few 100 bucks to live but fortunately it's not that expensive. Check out the prices on QuickClot at: http://www.z-medica.com/ordering/ordering.asp [z-medica.com]

Re:QuikClot (4, Informative)

crowbarsarefornerdyg (1021537) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321440)

My EMS agency allowed us a trial run of the QuikClot, and you're right. It's amazing, especially on oozing wounds. The other device to come from the military is the Asherman Chest Seal, which is a one way valve with a large sticky surface for sucking chest wounds.

Re:QuikClot (1)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 7 years ago | (#17322144)

My EMS agency allowed us a trial run of the QuikClot, and you're right. It's amazing, especially on oozing wounds. The other device to come from the military is the Asherman Chest Seal, which is a one way valve with a large sticky surface for sucking chest wounds.
Yes, much better than what we were taught to do in basic training 20 years ago: "find a piece of plastic, like the dressing wrapper or the cellophane off a cigarette pack" and put that over the wound under the pressure dressing. Yeah, sure. Sorry man, i tore the pressure dressing wrapper down the middle and it won't cover the wound. Hold on a minute while I find someone who smokes.

which raises the question... (3, Interesting)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321016)

New military gear is on the horizon that promises to do the same, including biosensors, bandages that clot blood using soundwaves

Ok, since they have a bandage that clots blood using soundwaves, you can pretty much guess that they have a weapon that clots blood using soundwaves. Which is pretty fucking scary.

Re:which raises the question... (5, Insightful)

Guinness Pig (1042288) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321150)

Okay, let's not get carried away with paranoia about what the military is capable of. Do you really think they need to create something to send concentrated ultrasonic waves to cause a lethal blood clot? What, are you expecting Corollas with big ass woofers blaring Ludacris to make an appearance on the battlefield? They don't need to make blood clots to kill people. Perfectly mundane things like bullets, missiles and various projectile explosives work perfectly fine to mess up someone's day. I spent six years in the military, and you give them far too much credit. They ain't that clever.

Re:which raises the question... (5, Funny)

dingDaShan (818817) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321322)

Our secret blood clot weapon has been slowly invading other countries. A few years back they just opened one in China. I'm lovin it

Re:which raises the question... (1)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 7 years ago | (#17322252)

I thought the secret weapon to kill off the Chinese was Marlboro's and Camels. They all die of lung cancer in 30 years and we walk right in and take over. Either that or we open a bunch of Wal-Marts and sell them Made in the USA stuff ;)

Re:which raises the question... (5, Insightful)

KillerBob (217953) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321734)

I draw your attention to the big yellow arrow on rocket launchers that you point at the enemy?

We get some pretty cool toys in the army, but it's all designed so that you can use it when you're being shot at after having had 15 minutes of sleep in the last week. Just because it's designed for idiots doesn't mean that the folks designing it are idiots. Actually, they're pretty brilliant, IMO... why bother developing a super-expensive way to kill somebody that centralizes your killing power in one spot when a 5.56x45 FMJ round costs less than $0.30 and kills them just as dead? When the bad guys develop armour that can safely protect them from everything we use on the battlefield, you'll start seeing new ways of killing people being developed. Until then, it's a waste of money.

Re:which raises the question... (1)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321928)

They don't need to make blood clots to kill people. Perfectly mundane things like bullets, missiles and various projectile explosives work perfectly fine to mess up someone's day.

Except that a bullet needs you to aim, and you need line-of-sight. An ultrasonic blood-clotting weapon could surely be made to work through walls, if the army threw enough money at it. And beyond the battlefield, an ultrasonic blood-clotting weapon is a great way to cause a seemingly "natural" death through stroke.

Re:which raises the question... (1)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 7 years ago | (#17322188)

An ultrasonic blood-clotting weapon could surely be made to work through walls, if the army threw enough money at it.
Yes, because by simply spending enough money you can repeal the laws of physics. The government doesn't need to use secret spy weapons. They have bullets and bombs.

Re:which raises the question... (3, Insightful)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 7 years ago | (#17322378)

you are obviously not an acoustical engineer...
not even an advanced amateur.

Example:
Take an untrasound of a pregnant woman, pretty cool. move the transducer 1mm away from her abdomen, nothing.
This cuff works basically the same way. A weapon would have to work in a predominately similar way.
-nB

Oh, and even if it would work all cool like you speculate, you'd still need to aim it, else the freindly fire aspect will *suck*.

they started to deploy the "go away"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17322086)

...microwave rioter weapon. Google "Active Denial System". In production, in theater, now. Now let's just suppose...they got a way to crank teh dial to 11 or 12 or higher instead of what they admit to, 10? Technically possible? Yep. Easy to do once the thing is built-need an amp? They got it. Think it's built already, seeing as how a line of sight speed of light weapon is just as handy in the lethal range as in the just very painful range? Want to bet against it? I wouldn't. They also have a silent to the ears but effective sonic nausea weapon, they sell it in police supply catalogs. They have various gasses like the russian cops used in that school seige that kill people very quickly but are sold as just anti riot gas, all you need to do is up the projected in amounts over specs. It's sold as go to skleep fast gas, but just a scosh more and you really go to sleep. Unfortunately that is what happened to all those kids, plus they offed the dudes who were in on it, getting rid of the expensive embarrassing patsies they used to drumbeat up more war (russia does the same as the US, Israel, the UK, etc, agent provocateur actions). And blinding/dazzling lasers? They got them more powerful than that. And they are working on being able to broadcast on brainwave frequencies, and no, this isn't the proverbial tin foil hat, it's real, you need to see some of the stuff winkled out by researchers. The brain has bonafide EM freqs that are detectable and used in psych research all the time. Small power, but radio for conversational purposes. Dig it. What's to stop them figuring out how to broadcast a lot of power in those freqs, just to make your day? Nothing near as I can see, nothing at all, and they sure as hell wouldn't brag out loud about something like that.

  Now ponder this, the blackbudget is in the uber billions yearly. Every year. Sure, a lot of that is probably pork or wasted, but they still develop and deploy on a small scale a lot of interesting things, and decades before they tell the public about it, such as the B2. So, see what they admit to now, extrapolate they are at least ten to twenty years ahead of that in what they got in the stash.

Re:which raises the question... (1)

Torvaun (1040898) | more than 7 years ago | (#17322412)

How about for assassination? Dying of a stroke because of a blood clot in the brain is much less suspicious and more deniable than dying of a 9mm brain hemorrhage. How about the ability to increase the area affected fairly easily? How about the lack of damage to structures? There are plenty of reasons that this could be developed despite the existence of bullets.

Re:which raises the question... (1)

wik (10258) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321706)

Nah, that product got stuck in the pipeline.

Re:which raises the question... (1)

anaesthetica (596507) | more than 7 years ago | (#17322074)

I don't know about a military weapon to create bloodclots, but we already have medical machines that use soundwaves to kill cancer. Apparently they use three or more different soundwaves, aimed in such a way as to have them cross at the point you want to kill (the cancer), and when they cross they amplify to a lethal degree. Not only non-invasive but also nerd-errific!

Linky: High Intensity Focussed Ultrasound [google.com]

Re:which raises the question... (1)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17322338)

The don't need it. Conventional munitions are good enough for clotting blood. Here is some information on small arms wounding capability. http://www.firearmstactical.com/tactical.htm [firearmstactical.com]

Some information on overpressure from google http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=overpressure+ lethality&btnG=Google+Search [google.com]

The military at one time had enough VX nerve gas to kill a whole country and enough nukes to cook the bodies in their skin and ... nothing happened.

I need these (4, Funny)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321028)

I need all of these.

I'll tie my smartshirt (worn under the bodysuit made of liquid body armor) into the HUD on the powered exoskeleton, which I can use to assist a long and high launch of my micro spy planes as I wait for resupply by my GT Max Mini Helicopter. When I have picked out my target, I'll glide in (again wearing liquid body armor) using my Gryphon flying wing, pick off the guards using my Cornershot rifle, rescue the hostage using my Swiss Army Pen, slap an ultrasonic bandage over his wounds, and then...

Erm...

OK, I'm out of gadgets. Someone wanna find me a personal rocket pack capable of carrying two?

Ubiquitous? (1)

Bluesman (104513) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321038)

That word. I do not think it means, what you think it means.

Comma? (1)

Rugikiki (948563) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321454)

That punctuation. I do not think it works like you think it works.

Re:Comma? (1)

veganboyjosh (896761) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321748)

that joke. i do not think it works like you think it doesn't.

How does that work? (1)

presentt (863462) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321088)

I'm curious about how well that exoskeleton works. So, if I attach it to my thigh and calve, and try to jump, and it increases the power in that muscle motion, can I jump higher? Now what, how do I land?

But let's say practice makes perfect, and I eventually become adept enough to land it. What type of power source is on my back that can lift my weight, plus the weight of the power source, plus the bionic leg, plus any equipment I may be carrying. We're talking at least 200lbs.

Nonetheless, I'd like to see it in action.

Hmm, should have looked further into that... (2, Informative)

presentt (863462) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321164)

I searched "powered exoskeleton" on YouTube and found this [youtube.com] project from Berkley. I guess, if this is what the article was talking about, then the device would serve as more of a weight supporter than a strengthening tool. It also seems a bit too sluggish to execute a rapid maneuver like jumping, despite the BBC article in TFA claiming [bbc.co.uk] higher leaps is a goal. Would it end up hindering a troop in combat, considering the rapidity needed to move in today's guerrilla and urban warfare?

On the other hand, the video shows the man wearing a huge backpack. As a backpacker myself, I know that the best way to carry the weight is on your hips, so that your leg muscles bear the load. This exoskeleton seems well fit for bearing that load; the man in the video looks like he is hardly straining.

The technology looks like it may be ready for work on bases, but is hardly ready for the front line. The BBC article points out more limitations.

Re:How does that work? (2, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321206)

Often when you hear people talk about device X increasing the power of something, they are really not talking about power at all. Power (as in energy x time) is not something you'd really have a whole lot of control over unless you did have a horribly large, heavy, vulnerable, probably highly explosive power source strapped on.


More effective use of power for the purpose intended is something you see virtually everywhere - gears, levers, springs, virtually all mechanical devices that have ever existed are all simply ways of putting in the same amount but utilizing it better. I imagine the exoskeletal armor is no different - it might conserve energy that you'd otherwise lose, reducing the impact of varying speed or incline. If it's really good, it might be able to convert some of the energy it absorbs from impacts into energy available for you to use. It might eliminate variations in ground level, reducing the effort involved in moving over rough terrain. But really there's not much more it can do than that.


(Well, if the US military has got Tesla's theories to work, I guess they could power the suit remotely, so eliminating the need for portable power. On the other hand, if they were at that point, they really wouldn't need exoskeletal armor - or indeed soldiers. You'd just hook a Tesla coil to a microwave fillament and boil your opponents from long range.)

Re:How does that work? (1)

presentt (863462) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321390)

jd:

More effective use of power for the purpose intended is something you see virtually everywhere - gears, levers, springs, virtually all mechanical devices that have ever existed are all simply ways of putting in the same amount but utilizing it better.

Yes, I didn't use "power" correctly from a physics standpoint, instead using it as a synonym for exertable (sp?) strength. Regardless, the BBC article [bbc.co.uk] that the posted article links to refers to the usage of "pneumatic muscles or deformable magnets." I don't know what deformable magnets are, but I don't think pneumatics increase efficiency. There's probably a lot of lost energy--think of truck brakes.

Essentially, to get the human to move faster or transfer heavier loads (and, by extension, be able to jump higher), more energy needs to be put in, because no matter how efficient the machines in the bionic leg are, you can't create energy. And it takes more work (in the physics sense, i.e., a force over distance) to move a heavier load the same distance, because the force required is greater. And to move faster, power would need to be increased as well, meaning an increase in work, and thus an increase in required energy.

Re:How does that work? (1)

jd (1658) | more than 7 years ago | (#17322130)

You're absolutely right that energy can't just be created. As I mentioned, really the best you can do without actually adding energy from another source is to simply avoid wasting it. The human frame is a superb compromise for all possible extremes and moderations, but can't in all honesty be described as actually efficient in any of them. I can therefore see someone building an exoskeleton that handles limited special cases extremely well, giving you more results for the same human effort.


However, you are also right in saying that the sorts of things described by the BBC can't possibly qualify for this. We have no reason to assume the US military is ever going to be honest on their R&D programs. There are also known examples (the book "The Men Who Stare At Goats" documents a few) where their R&D has been scientifically questionable at best, so we can't even assume that the system would even work, no matter how accurate or inaccurate the description is. This makes it hard to make any real headway.


If we assume that the R&D is producing useful results and that they are subject to the same laws of physics, we should be able to reverse-engineer what techniques they could be employing. There simply aren't many options that would do anything remotely useful or in a sufficiently energy-efficient manner to be useful in a hostile environment. The advantage of this approach is we can completely ignore any errors in the details (no matter how they got there) and only bother with the practicalities of the mechanics. The disadvantage is that although such a method would give you a design that would actually work, you have zero idea if it has anything in common with what the DoD is up to.


On the third hand, we're geeks and a practical DIY exoskeleton kit may actually be far more interesting and useful than a history we will never really know of a project we will likely never really see.

Damn, this irritates me (3, Informative)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321094)

The "Powered Exoskeleton: The real bionic man" entry brought to you by none other than Robert A. Heinlein [wikipedia.org] , the inventor of the Waldo, the waterbed and I don't know what else...

The main thing that was missing from Paul Verhoeven's Starship Troopers [imdb.com] was the powered exoskeletons, courtesy R.A.H. [wikipedia.org] , circa 1959. Not that I didn't adore the "Doogie Howser, S.S.", "Klendathu 90210" aspects of the film, but the only really good example of the notion we've had in film is Ripley's "Get away from her, you bitch!" from Aliens [imdb.com] .

Microwave ovens are from WWII radar (5, Informative)

iliketrash (624051) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321110)

"One only has to look at the fruits of the space program (from computers to microwave ovens to Tang)."

Presumably the author refers the the tube in a microwave oven called a magnetron. If so, then this was developed in World War II for use in radars. Incidentally, the invention of the transistor was a direct follow-on to WWII efforts to build crystal detectors. See the book, "The Invention that Changed the World" by Robert Buderi, a history of the development and aftermath of the invention of radar. It is said that the atomic bomb ended the war but radar won the war.

Bullet-Resistant vests: (4, Insightful)

Upaut (670171) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321112)

Man, I hope this trickles down (Affordably) to the masses. Anything that hardens on impact would be great for those of us that attend protests. Its not so much the bullets and stabbing that worries me, but the savage beatings that we recieve. Though having protection is good when some rookie decides to fire rubber bullets into the crowd. Hasn't happened to me yet, but with how peacful protesters are being treated, its only a matter of time.

Re:Bullet-Resistant vests: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17322018)

You should come to San Franciso. Out here it's the peaceful protesters doing all the beating. And stabbing. And throwing of firebombs. Though they don't just go after the police, they go after pretty much anybody who isn't with them.

Re:Bullet-Resistant vests: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17322122)

Then they are not "peaceful". If they are sitting in front of the walkway of a goverment building wearing signs of protest, possibly singing songs of sorrow, then they are "peaceful". And they get "dispersed" in such a way these days that the union beaters of old would be proud...

Re:Bullet-Resistant vests: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17322026)

If that post is a troll then so help me god.

Re:Bullet-Resistant vests: (1)

Upaut (670171) | more than 7 years ago | (#17322104)

The parent is not a joke. Please do not moderate it as funny.

If I have offended your sensibilities, then rate me as a troll.

If you have worn a bandana soaked in apple cider vinegar, have a friend who has broken ribs at a protest, or the like, then please moderate insightful.

I was/am excited about this technology, and have been for a while, for one reason: Protection. I see my nation enacting laws that truly frighten me. I want to be able to protect myself and my family if/when the offal hits the fan.

I've always wanted (1)

erbbysam (964606) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321220)

I've always wanted to have a infrared automated minigun in front of every door of my house to greet the neighbors and a enough C4 and MLRS rockets in the background to make this July 4th one of the memorable ones in my town for years.

What about my lawn? (4, Funny)

st0rmshad0w (412661) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321254)

What about something to keep those damn kids off my lawn?

Re:What about my lawn? (3, Funny)

rk (6314) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321416)

Ask... and ye shall receive [boingboing.net] .

Re:What about my lawn? (1)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321422)

that's easy [safeguards.com]

part of this program already cut- landwarrior (5, Informative)

docinthemachine (1031976) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321290)

Several of these technologies are part of the FCS (future combat system) including the soldier of the future - Landwarrior program. However the government has just cut this program. You can read more about it -- and all of the future medical devices lost in the shuffle-- here: http://docinthemachine.com/2006/12/08/army-axing-h igh-tech-soldier-of-tomorrow-medtech-losses-predic ted/ [docinthemachine.com]

The space program did not bring us computers (1)

Just Another Poster (894286) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321294)

One only has to look at the fruits of the space program (from computers

Computers did not come from the space program. The space program consistently used computers that were generations behind the commercial state-of-the-art, and this hasn't changed today.

Re:The space program did not bring us computers (2, Informative)

localroger (258128) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321384)

This is mostly true. Wartime needs for cryptography, ballistics table calculations, and early hydrogen bomb design drove the earliest computers. The space program did have a lot to do with early miniaturization attempts though; the Apollo program sucked much of the world's supply of integrated circuits in its early years.

cost efficiency of the discoveries? (-1, Troll)

techmuse (160085) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321346)

Imagine if that money were directly spent on civilian medical research or civilian technology. Rather than getting lucky on some technologies and then waiting for those technologies to transfer to the civilian world, might we not get even better technologies by investing in the civilian world directly?

Re:cost efficiency of the discoveries? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17321496)

I was about to say mod parent Troll!

Nice Excuse for Amoral Engineers Too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17321406)

This provides Prof. Schmengy a nice excuse for developing nasty weapons under a DARPA grant. It'd be nicer if these things were developed for civilian use first and then appropriated by the military but money talks. Something like 60% of all R and D funding in the US comes directly or indirectly from miliary sources.

Re:Nice Excuse for Amoral Engineers Too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17322272)

>> Something like 60% of all R and D funding in the US comes directly or indirectly from miliary sources.

Yes, but:

-USA runs a massive public and private deficit each year.
-This is only held up by foreign confidence in US money.
-Which depends on US financial and military power
-Thus the US spends more than every other country in the world COMBINED on military spending each year.
-Thus nobody is able to actually get their money back
-USA wins!

It'll work forever... right?

Strange Title For Underwear (3, Funny)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321438)

Shear Thickening Fluid (STF) [scifi.com] is a liquid armor that turns extremely hard and spreads itself out when punctured or struck with a high-velocity object, such as a bullet.

Making it only a matter of time before the phrase "Gear up" is replaced by "STF up!"

From computers to microwave ovens to Tang (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17321482)

To computerized microwaves that shoot hot Tang for use in crowd control.

God bless America!

Maybe (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321494)

With this set [scifi.com] of personal flying wings strapped to your back, you'll be able to bail out of a plane miles from your target, glide to a landing area while staying virtually undetectable by radar, and then pull the rip cord on your 'chute for a soft landing

The key thing I think they've failed to account for in all of this is that, if they're even a little smarter than the guards in Splinter Cell, people are somewhat likely to be alarmed enough by falling wings that they don't just go back to patrolling while you continue to descend by parachute.

Libertarian countdown... (2, Insightful)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321508)

Waiting for the ideologue posts about how big government spending can never do any good, and never any better than private industry...

Microwave ovens??? (3, Informative)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321536)

Magnetrons were invented before the 2nd world war and perfected during the war by the Brits for use in Radar. No space program back then - not on this planet anyway.

the good side of military spending (4, Insightful)

2ms (232331) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321564)

The good side of military spending is that, other than during times of war, the fraction of the money that goes to the military for having troops around and building few hundred tanks every once in a while is tiny compared to the amount of money that goes toward science, research, technology. For every troop that is getting paid to be on base, the military is probably putting food on the tables of 30 researchers or engineers to develop new technologies. For example, lets say the military gets a new model of tank. Well, the cost of actual steel, plastic, computer chips, etc that constitute the tanks that are produced themselves are really nothing compared to the amount of money that went into advancing technologies and employing engineers. A B2 bomber costs a couple billion because incredible science and technology had to be realized in order to make the plane possible. Like 20 of them or something were ever to be actually made. That price doesn't reflect the sum of the physical components and labor of assembling them, but rather, the price tag reflects the amount of engineering and science work that had to be done to realize the level of technology necessary for the existence of such a plane.

The bright side of military spending is that most of that money basically goes to putting food on the tables of tens of thousands of engineers in our country. With labor costs so high and manufacturing going to everywhere in the world other than our own country, technology is our stock-in-trade. As it turns out, the structure of the govt sponsoring military technology programs with a long-term and unified approach in contrast to the much more duplicative and reactive, smaller investments for shorter-term results, approach seen in the development of technology only in the hands of individual companies reacting to market pressures method, has been very fruitful indeed.

But wouldn't it be nice (1)

wirefarm (18470) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321944)

...if they could do the same thing without the whole "killing" part?

I read something about how wonderful the advancements in prosthetics the past few years have been. I even saw a kid of 20 or 22 at the airport carrying a big green duffle bag unassisted, though he had artificial legs and a prosthetic arm and the unmistakable look of a soldier.

Just spend the money. Declare it to be a National Technological Development Something-or-other and so and spend the money on research that doesn't come at such a high cost.

Honestly, that shit is heartbreaking.

Re:But wouldn't it be nice (3, Insightful)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 7 years ago | (#17322238)

...if they could do the same thing without the whole "killing" part?

I read something about how wonderful the advancements in prosthetics the past few years have been. I even saw a kid of 20 or 22 at the airport carrying a big green duffle bag unassisted, though he had artificial legs and a prosthetic arm and the unmistakable look of a soldier.

Just spend the money. Declare it to be a National Technological Development Something-or-other and so and spend the money on research that doesn't come at such a high cost.

Honestly, that shit is heartbreaking.
The money gets spent on research whether there's a war on or not. The difference is that war provides real-life test cases to advance and refine things beyond the theoretical. War is the dark cloud, advancements in prosthetics and lifesaving technology are the silver lining. Progress in handling unpleasant things like dismemberment comes from experience handling unpleasant things like dismemberment. Like it or not, humans are vicious. We always have been. You don't get to the top of the food chain by being a a bunch of happy fluffy bunnies.

Re:the good side of military spending (2, Informative)

bagsc (254194) | more than 7 years ago | (#17322038)

Personnel still get most of the money.
"The nearly $440 billion defense budget contains $110.8 billion for military personnel, including a modest 2.2 percent pay increase, as well as $84.2 billion for weapons systems and $73.2 billion for research and development." [washingtonpost.com]

Considering how little soldiers get paid (starting at $1,204 per month [dod.mil] ), and how much engineers get paid (~$3,500 per month starting), you start wondering who the Defense Department's priorities are...

Re:the good side of military spending (4, Interesting)

2short (466733) | more than 7 years ago | (#17322088)

"For every troop that is getting paid to be on base, the military is probably putting food on the tables of 30 researchers or engineers to develop new technologies"

Active troop strength is something like 1.5 million, so by your estimate that's 45 million researchers bettering the world on the militaries dime. Almost 1 in 6 Americans are military funded scientists! Wow, I had no idea.

You'll forgive me if I take the rest of your rosy assesment with a little grain of salt?

Re:the good side of military spending (2, Insightful)

Profound (50789) | more than 7 years ago | (#17322206)

But what about all of the cool things we miss out on that those "tens of thousands of engineers" could make or invent if they weren't coming up with new ways to kill people?

Au contraire (0)

vtcodger (957785) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321656)

***. One only has to look at the fruits of the space program (from computers to microwave ovens to Tang).***

The space program did not develop Tang. NASA bought it at the grocery store just like anyone else who wanted it could and did.

Microwave ovens are based on WWII military technology and were in commercial use before NASA even existed.

The military did in fact put a lot of money into early digital computer development -- some of it for space applications. But NASA was not a major source of funding for digital computer development. The oil companies who needed supercomputers for seismic analysis were a lot bigger contributor to digital computer technology than the civilian space program.

(And Teflon and Velcro didn't come from the space program either).

I think the civilian space program has probably made some significant contributions to the engineering of custom materials although I couldn't cite examples. But all in all, the civilian space program hasn't had a very high payoff in technology development.

The Tang meme (1)

Howzer (580315) | more than 7 years ago | (#17322230)

>>The space program did not develop Tang. NASA bought it at the grocery store just like anyone else who wanted it could and did.

Absolutely correct. Tang is just powdered sugar, and has been available in supermarkets since 1959.

Sunglasses, smoke detectors, and cordless drills, however, ARE three spinoffs from the space program.

In fact, just about the only thing in our modern lives that doesn't trace back to either the space program or "big public science" (like the web coming from CERN) is Tang!

What is it with the Tang meme?! Was there an ad campaign featuring astronauts, or something? Is it one of those "false memory" things like the meme that links "fake moon landings" to the movie "Capricorn One"?

military/space research has 20% civilian payback (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17321992)

Sorry, no references, just what I read 10 years ago. An economic study concluded that the civilian sector gets 20 cents back on every dollar spent on military and space research, in the form of results useful to civilian products. In other words, while it's true that military and space research has some civilian benefits, we'd get 5 times the benefit if we funded civilian research directly instead of funding war/space research and lucking out with some trickle-down.

Beyond Treason (0, Troll)

gd23ka (324741) | more than 7 years ago | (#17322042)

"It is nothing new to see technology from military and governmental endeavors change daily life profoundly."

Sure. Military technology can change people's lives profoundly. Ask anyboy who stepped on a land mine.
Or even better: Why don't you ask the troops yourselves? Start with the ones who have breathed in depleted uranium
and have cancer, then talk to the guys who ended up terminally sick from the vaccination shots they were given.

All that is: Beyond Treason

http://www.beyondtreason.com/ [beyondtreason.com]
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5005143638 489831436&q=beyond+treason [google.com]

Why DARPA Does What Medical Industry Won't (3, Informative)

docinthemachine (1031976) | more than 7 years ago | (#17322142)

There is so much argument about whether the civilian pay-off from military research makes sense. Here is a bit of research on the medical end and some reasons why private industry does not take the risks DARPA does. http://docinthemachine.com/2006/12/21/darpamedtech / [docinthemachine.com]

I am particularly impressed... (1)

lelitsch (31136) | more than 7 years ago | (#17322158)

..with the militray knockoffs some nitwits in Richmond, CA used to pump 50 rounds into a car last night.

Lets face it, all of this could have been developed faster and cheaper if we'd put the $350,000,000,000 spent in Iraq on civilian research.

BFG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17322178)

Almost daily there is a situation which makes me want to pull out the BFG, that's the military tech we really need in daily life.

viral marketing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17322458)

Just last week we had the article extolling the benefits of funding the "land warrior" project and how it would make all our lives better via trickle down of bio-medical-tech. I'm starting to sense a Viral Marketing pattern surrounding pro-military-science pieces. Do you forget the military's primary purpose is that of controlled destruction? They aren't all sunshine and superglue.

As a deaf guy (1)

CODiNE (27417) | more than 7 years ago | (#17322550)

I'm waiting for those tongue-connected vision overlay devices. Only thing is, I want it to project hearing instead of vision. I'll also work on the back as I understand it, easier to talk that way. :-)

Call me... (2, Funny)

gmby (205626) | more than 7 years ago | (#17322568)

when I can have a Sonic Screwdriver!
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