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Futuristic designs for new military uniforms were recently unveiled by the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) as part of plans to modernise UK troops’ equipment. Among the new military hardware is a wearable smart watch that allows soldiers to communicate from the battlefield. Sensors on the wrist can also record the user’s biometric data. Smart glasses will feature a heads-up display. A sophisticated new helmet will incorporate hearing protection and lightweight sensors to allow military information to be shared quickly and easily in hostile terrains.
But thinking even further ahead, what can Future Soldier gear include? Technological advancements for military gears are abundant and vary from protective equipment and weaponry through softwares to communication capabilities. They do have one thing in common though: They look really cool.
We picked out three of the coolest technologies for the future soldier:
- Atomically-Thin, Powerful Graphene Night Vision Lenses:
Graphene is a genuine wonder invention, a material with individual layers just one atom thick that has seemingly endless uses. A new study published in the journal Nano Letters reveals that graphene can also be used to create next-generation night vision contact lenses that also pick up on heat signatures.
Graphene is an ultra-flexible, durable, transparent material. It’s also highly efficient at conducting electricity and is sensitive to the entire infrared spectrum, as well as visible and ultraviolet light. And the coolest part about it? Graphene is also ultra-thin, it means that these devices could theoretically be worn as contact lenses. The only problem is the material hasn’t yet made it to the market. But that isn’t about to stop us from wishing and waiting.
2) Soft Upper-Body Exo-Suit
Researchers from Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering spent the past two years developing a biologically inspired smart suit that aims to boost efficiency through a new approach. A series of webbing straps contain a microprocessor and a network of strain sensors. “The suit mimics the action of leg muscles and tendons so a Soldier’s muscles expend less energy,” said Dr. Ignacio Galiana, a robotics engineer working on the project.
Here’s how it looks:
Harvard researchers said they hope to help Soldiers to “walk longer distances, keep fatigue at bay and minimize the risk of injury when carrying heavy loads.”
3) The Laser Blinding “Dazzler”
This little toy-looking laser gun, called the Personnel Halting and Stimulation Response, or PHaSr, is not meant to kill anyone. It will, however, blind them. PHaSR is the first man-portable, non-lethal deterrent weapon and is intended for protecting troops and controlling hostile crowds. The weapon employs a two-wavelength laser system and is a hand-held, single-operator system for troop and perimeter defense. The weapon’s laser light temporarily blinds its targets. Though blinding laser weapons have been banned under the 1995 UN Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons, the PHaSR rifle, a low-intensity laser, is not prohibited under this regulation, as the blinding effect is intended to be temporary.