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Tag Archives: Military

BattleView Infrared Vascular Trans-illuminator For Getting An IV Up In Total Darkness

By David Ponce

This product has been used in battle for the last couple of years and now it appears you can get your own. It’s called the BattleView Infrared Vascular Trans-illuminator and is made specifically for situations where using visible light might get you killed. Like setting up triage on the side of a mountain at night in Afghanistan for example, where lighting your helmet light simply gives the enemy a beacon for your location. The BattleView features 4 near-infrared LEDs running off a single 3-volt CR123A lithium battery. Put it on a patient’s hand (or other body part) and the venous blood will fluoresce making it instantly visible to anyone wearing night vision goggles. You’re then free to get your IV going as if it was broad daylight.

The fact that it’s near-infrared also means that it will

“emit a faint red glow that is visible to the naked eye. The red glow can only be seen from a few feet away and is used for checking power status without NVG aid. The IR emission is very strong, allowing BattleView © to be used as an IR Beacon or area light as well. In addition, the unit also produces heat when powered on. The heat lets it be used as a thermal beacon.

We can’t think of too many civilian applications for this product, but if you can, it’s $500 to own.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ MedGadget ]

No Surprise: Army Developing Surveillance Insects

By David Ponce

Unmanned aircraft such as surveillance drones are really nothing compared to the stuff the Air Force is working on. Miniaturization marches onwards and gives rise to the sort of little devices you see in the picture.

At the Micro-Aviary at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, researchers rig the walls with super-sensitive motion capture sensors that track a tiny plane or helicopter’s position ”within about a tenth of an inch,” according to researcher Greg Parker. Information from those sensors helps engineers develop “flapping-wing flight” drones — “very, very small flapping-wing vehicles,” in Parker’s phrase.

And how. One of the vehicles on display in the video above, released by the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Pat, is a robot dragonfly. It doesn’t appear to be much more than a circuit board, a super-tiny motor and two insect-like wings

No camera on that “insect” yet. However we can deduct a couple of things from the information that is given to us. The bleeding edge of military research is always and understandably classified. So if we’re being shown something like this little dragonfly in the picture, you can make a safe bet that there’s something far more advanced already in production. What shape this technology would have is pure speculation, but this writer is picturing this: swarms of semi-autonomous insect-sized flying bots with video reconnaissance capabilities, all simultaneously feeding back to a base station. They’d be impossible to fully shoot down and would be indistinguishable from actual insects. Are we there yet? There’s no way to know right now.

VIA [ The Telegraph ]

Japan’s Ball Shaped Drone Is Awesome

By David Ponce

The US’s military drones can do a bunch of things, but they aren’t the only drones in town. Currently in development by the Japanese Defense Ministry, the ball-shaped drone you see in the picture (and in the video below) can do some things regular drones can’t. Its spherical shape allows it to roll around the ground and land pretty much anywhere. It can takeoff vertically, but once in flight can deploy wings for forward travel at 60km/h (that’s 37 mph for you Yanks). If it hits an obstacle, it simply keeps on trucking like nothing happened (watch the demonstrator in the video slap it around some).

The prototype you see in the video was made with commercially available parts costing around $1,400. But that also means that it’s nowhere near final specification as production models will likely have parts engineered specifically for it. Consider this a proof of concept, so that 8 minute flight autonomy is more than likely to increase with later iterations. Currently it weighs 350g (12 ounces?) and is meant primarily as a reconnaissance craft.

[ Diginfo Article ] VIA [ Techcrunch Gadgets ]

Canada’s Aeryon Labs Has Been Providing Drones To Libya’s Rebels

By David Ponce

While the fighting has not completely subsided, it appears as though Gaddafi’s regime has all but crumbled and the revolution in Libya was successful. Initially described as a ragtag group of disorganized youths, Libya’s rebels managed to topple the Colonel’s 42 year rule with the help of NATO… but also from a Waterloo, Ontario company called Aeryon Labs. They’ve been providing the Transitional National Council with the Aeryon Scout, a small surveillance drone which the company describes thusly:

The Aeryon Scout is a small, easy-to-fly man-packable flying robotic reconnaissance system design for operation in real-world, harsh conditions. It weighs just 3 pounds, packs into a suitcase or a backpack and can be quickly and easily deployed and operated by soldiers in the field. Instead of using joysticks, the Scout uses a map-based, touch-screen interface that allows new users to pilot the system in just minutes. The Scout essentially flies itself allowing the operator to focus on acquiring imagery.

Hit the jump for a video and links.

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CS300K Counter Surveillance Camera Spots Snipers, Peeping Toms, And Those Who Don’t Know It’s Impolite To Stare

CS300K Counter Surveillance Camera (Image courtesy JETprotect)
By Andrew Liszewski

Current techniques for locating snipers (besides a well-trained pair of eyes) involve sophisticated microphone setups, which are essentially useless until the sniper fires a shot, at which point it could be already too late. But the CS300K Counter Surveillance Camera, from a company called JETprotect, promises to spot sniper scopes, binoculars, cameras and even human eyeballs from hundreds of meters away using the ‘red-eye’ effect that’s wrecked so many photos over the years.

The CS300K uses an integrated “unique wavelength GigE Vision IP camera” in conjunction with a “numerically controlled Class IIIb laser illuminator” and special automatic surveillance software to monitor for threats around the clock, providing warnings when something is spotted. The initial applications for the technology will involve military and security duties where prying eyes or scopes are a serious threat, but I’m sure it will eventually trickle down to the consumer level so you can use your cellphone to monitor that creepy guy on the subway who’s been occasionally staring at you for the past 15 minutes.

[ CS300K Counter Surveillance Camera ] VIA [ Gizmag ]

Kevlar Wallpaper Protects Against Bombs, Wild Parties

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By Evan Ackerman

There are two places where bomb-proof wallpaper would come in really, really handy: war zones, and college. I guess college is less deadly most of the time, but you also don’t have the US Government offering to step in and pay for replacement drywall after your roommate decides that it would be fun to try and kick his way through to the adjoining room by swinging from your bunk bed. Thanks, Logan.

X-Flex wallpaper is made from a “Kevlar-like material” (Kevlar itself being a trademark of DuPont, in case you were wondering) sandwiched between an elastic polymer wrap. It’s lightweight, portable, and a cinch to install relative to the protection it offers: you just peel off the back, stick it to the wall, and bolt it to the ceiling and floor and you’re done. You can even wallpaper or paint over it if you don’t like the color. Popular Science put X-Flex to the test with a wrecking ball as you’ll see in the video below, but to forestall any objections, you can also see X-Flex withstanding an actual bomb blast on their website.

For those of you who are especially paranoid, it’s certainly worth mentioning that X-Flex is not actually intended to protect against ballistics, like bullets or shrapnel, just blasts and blunt impacts like bombs and drunken roommates. A commercial version of the military grade wallpaper is due out next year.

[ X-Flex ] and [ PopSci ] VIA [ DVICE ]

Navy Failing To Give Away Sea Shadow For Free

uss-sea-shadow

By Evan Ackerman

Looking for a badass new yacht for free? Sea Shadow, commissioned by DARPA and now a US Navy castoff, is about as badass as it gets. You may be familiar with Sea Shadow from the Bond move Tomorrow Never Dies, but it’s a real ship, and it’s really stealthy. It’s 160 feet long, and comes with 12 bunks, a table, a microwave, a fridge, and a gigantic covered mining barge that the CIA used to keep Sea Shadow protected from satellite surveillance. The catch is that you have to take the barge too, and getting anything for free from the Navy is apparently “a bloodthirsty, paperwork ridden, permit-infested, money-sucking hole…” Why does that not surprise me.

If nobody comes up with an offer, Sea Shadow (which originally cost nearly $200 million) is going to be scrapped at the end of this year.

VIA [ WSJ ]

Binoculars With LightSpeed Technology Can Wirelessly Transmit Data VIA Infrared

LightSpeed Binoculars (Image courtesy Torrey Pines Logic, Inc.)
By Andrew Liszewski

There are some obvious downsides to being in the military, like say being shot at, but they also get to play with some of the coolest toys on Earth. Tanks and fighter jets aside, the U.S. military has apparently been using these binoculars that feature LightSpeed technology developed by a company called Torrey Pines Logic. They work just like regular binoculars, but using an infrared beam they can actually pass data (like sounds and images) back and forth between another set. Here’s a rudimentary breakdown of the technology from the Torrey Pines Logic site:

LightSpeed™ technology is based upon IR LED free-space optics (FSO) concepts. By using eye-safe LEDs for data transmission along with innovative optics, it can be incorporated into any binocular system permitting simultaneous data/voice communication and visual contact. The LightSpeed™ LED transmit beam covers the entire binocular field-of-view (FOV) so that precise pointing is unnecessary – as long as both operators can ‘see’ each other using their respective binoculars, reliable 1Mpbs data communication between two LightSpeed™ devices is supported at distances exceeding 5km. The data channel can accommodate various modes including Ethernet, video streaming and multi-channel audio data. Optical communications are the most secure means of data transmission and suffer no RF limitations; optional data encryption provides additional security.

But the president of Torrey Pines Logic feels that the technology has a use outside of the defense industry. For example, it could be used by ground crews at airports who have a hard time using radios because of interference from the aircraft. And I suppose it’s just a matter of time before this technology eventually trickles down to even regular eyeglasses.

[ Torrey Pines Logic, Inc. - LightSpeed Technology ] VIA [ Popular Mechanics ]

Video Friday: Anti-RPG Missile

By Evan Ackerman

One way to protect tanks from rocket propelled grenades is passively, by giving them more armor. A more effective way is actively, but shooting down incoming rounds before they even make it to the vehicle. It would be great if it were possible to do that with lasers, but it’s not yet (although we’re getting closer), so in the meantime the army’s Future Combat System will use a Quick Kill interceptor, a tiny little missile which pops up, locates the incoming round, orients itself, and fires, detonating the incoming round before it has a chance to strike the vehicle. Good thing the Russians haven’t already come up with a decoy system

VIA [ Danger Room ]