The technological advances that we have seen in 2019 do not cease to surprise us. We have seen creative applications of artificial intelligence, blockchain, robotics or internet of things to the most diverse sectors, without exception. Technology advances by giant steps in all kinds of fields, but there is a field where innovation tends to be one step ahead: the military.
Concern for the cybernetic component of wars 4.0 is not trivial and the investment made by governments in cybersecurity grows as awareness of the importance of protecting themselves in cyberspace does. But military innovation is not reduced to this area. We analyze some of the most interesting projects the industry has seen in the last year:
- The invisibility cloak of Harry Potter
HyperStealth Biotechnology Corporation, dedicated to manufacturing military camouflage uniforms, has patented “Quantum Stealth”, a tissue that modifies the treatment of light to prevent vision of what is immediately on the other side. Thanks to its characteristics, the material hides the target in the visible light spectrum, but also allows it to be hidden from ultraviolet and infrared spectra and can block the thermal spectrum.
The Canadian company has published more than 100 minutes of video that demonstrate how the material – thin, cheap and autonomous, since it does not require an external power source – is able to hide people and all kinds of objects and defends its military application to camouflage soldiers, but also ships, planes and tanks.
- A new concept of autopilot
Who doesn’t remember the autopilot of Land as you can? The US Air Force wanted to emulate the impersonation of the film’s non-human driver to turn their planes into autonomous drones. With the help of DZYNE Technologies Incorporated, a company specialized in these types of vehicles, has developed the ROBOpilot unmanned conversion program, a set of robotic components that is installed in the aircraft cabin once the seats have been removed.
From its sensors, actuators and robotic arms, the robot is able to control the rudder, make brake and acceleration adjustments and turn on the necessary switches on flights according to the protocols of the air administrations in the same way that a human pilot would . So far, the robot has completed some test flights and, although not yet ready for use, its future entry into the military field can help extend the life of the aircraft
- A sonic rifle for riot police
A group of researchers from the country’s Academy of Sciences has manufactured a portable sonic gun designed for police and military forces to use to disperse crowds. It is a rifle that fires low-frequency sound waves and, according to its creators, confuses the people in front. However, with prolonged exposure and high intensity, this type of sounds can cause headache, vomiting and dizziness, damage organs and cause heart attacks.
It can be correctly stated that sonic weapons are not a novelty, but the innovation of this Chinese development is its portability. Until now, these types of devices were large and unmanageable and should be transported in vehicles.
- My pet is a pocket drone
The US military has signed a 35 million euro contract with the company FLIR Systems to develop Black Hornets, some small drones that fit in your soldiers pocket – they are 15 centimeters long and weigh 32 grams – and can be used for land recognition tasks. These tiny devices can cover distances of up to two kilometers, have an autonomy of half an hour and are capable of sending high definition images and videos in real time.
- Soldiers equipped as in a video game
Its official name is IVAS and it stands for Integrated Visual Augmentation System. We are talking about military night vision and thermal glasses which also integrate certain augmented reality functionalities. Some applications that we find in type video games shooter, such as a compass or a GPS, can be extremely useful in military operations. Although this technology is in a prototyping phase, experts say that you could start using a functional device in a maximum period of two years.
- Control drones … with the brain
How it sounds. As explained by Al Emondi, neuroscientist at the US agency DARPA, to the publication MIT Technology Review, the idea of this Pentagon project is to be able to control drones through the mind. The program directed by Emondi has been trying to develop an interface between brain and computer for a year that does not have to be surgically implanted. Last May, to finance this development, he distributed funds among half a dozen teams of researchers working on the viability of near infrared light or electrical and ultrasound signals to avoid invasive methods.