FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Army Debuts its "Future Warrior"

The Army has unveiled a prototype for its "Future Warrior" -- a high-tech, highly protected soldier unlike anything we're seeing today. Lessons learned in recent fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq played a large role in developing this technology.

The Army is preparing two outfit prototypes, to be deployed in 2010 and 2020 respectively. Both resemble spacesuits and protect the wearer with substantial body armor, and "wire" him into computers on board vehicles and aircraft. Solders equipped with Future Warrior technology will be in constant contact with each other and with bases... and in turn, their physical conditions will be monitored constantly. The Army, in fact, is viewing solders as part of an integrated "tactical network" that can corrdinate itself in real time.

The 2020 version of the Future Warrior suit will use nanotechnology to remain pliable and comfortable until the precise moment a bullet or some other projectile strikes it. At that moment, it will become rigid and deflect the object. From the waist down, the suit might include piston-driven supports that will be, in effect, robotic legs allowing the soldier to carry massive amounts of gear on his back without strain.

Being that military technology has a long and successful history of "trickling down" into the civilian sector, the possibilities here for all kinds of applications are mind-boggling.

For more technology the Army has up its sleeve, visit their Future Combat Systems website.

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