profiles U.S. military future tech

Picture a man staring glassy-eyed at his monitor, muttering “awesome” sotto voce as he scans the screen. That’s me. Right here, right now.

So awesome. Dare I say, dangerously awesome.

Within three years, soldiers could begin testing futuristic devices that make them each “an army of one” by granting them unprecedented capabilities, such as the ability to see through walls thanks to advanced radar scopes and super-protection and super-strength conferred by high-tech armor…

Next-generation helmets for 2010 will … integrate electronics that pick up vibrations from the skull and transmit sound directly into the head instead of using traditional microphones and earpieces. They will improve soldiers’ ability to discern varying sounds. “It doesn’t matter if you’re whispering or yelling, it can still hear you,” DeGay said…

The Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies (ISN) at MIT is developing sensors integrated into battlesuits to detect chemical and biological weapons, as well as countermeasures against those threats when encountered. They are also working to integrate automated medical care into battlesuits, including splinting bones and CPR, and exploring the possibility of delivering medications such as vasopressin that will help minimize the risk of blood loss and hemorrhagic shock in injured soldiers.

How do ultrasound tourniquets, silicon solar-power panels stitched into fabrics, and real-time biomonitoring systems a la “Aliens” sound, hmm? Sound good?

I believe the word you’re looking for is “awesome.”

Here’s the most awesome part, though. I had to lie down for a minute to absorb the sheer awesomeness of it:

For the longer term, the government’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is helping to develop head-to-toe body armor that also enhances the strength, endurance and speed of soldiers using combustion engine-driven hydraulics that behave as artificial muscles. The idea behind these “exoskeletons” is to help a lone armored soldier carry a weapon that would normally take a crew to operate, such as a machine gun. DARPA will deliver prototype exoskeletons to the U.S. Army for tests in 2008.

This is how U.S. soldiers are going to look in ten years or so. If the locals like us now, imagine how much they’ll love us when this rolls off the assembly line and turns up on patrol in Ramadi.


The goal? A zero-casualty war. That’s the only one the country will support anymore, so that’s what it’s going to take.

We may get there yet.

Update: The Koreans are always a step ahead. We’ll get there too.