Military Technology that would make James Bond jealous

Matt Saintsing
May 19, 2018 - 1:41 pm

Photo Credit: Matt Saintsing for Connecting Vets

When military personnel, research scientists and engineers come together, the result can look more like science fiction than technological development, but that's exactly what was on display Saturday at Military Invention Day, in Washington, D.C. 

The free, one-day event at the National Museum of American History in the Smithsonian's Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation showcased revolutionary technology that would make James Bond jealous. Robotics, augmented reality, medical breakthroughs and artificial intelligence were just some of the more than 30 interactive displays of leading technologies based on military research. 

"It is our hope that Military Invention Day will play a role in empowering visitors to apply their curiosity to real-world problems and see themselves as inventors," says Arthur Daemmrich, director of the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation. 

"We see the potential for direct conversations with diverse inventors, showcasing how the technology is used, what challenges inspired it, and what impact it will have, to inspire or deepen our visitors' interests in science and engineering." 

Here seven of the most badass inventions that caught everyone's eye: 

1.) BATDOK

Developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory, this new smartphone-based medical library system can comfortably sit on any pararescue jumper's arm and take in sensor data from real-time medical monitoring of multiple battlefield casualties. BATDOK contains a medical library, manages electronic health records, and can operate with battlefield situational awareness systems.

 

 

Photo Credit: Matt Saintsing for Connecting Vets

The real value of BATDOK, says 1st Lt. Isaiah Bragg, software systems engineer for the BATDOK program, is that it frees up field medics, who usually have to rely on paper-intensive processes, to focus their efforts on where they're needed the most, treating the wounded. 

"We're trying to leverage technology to be a force multiplier that can allow a single medic to take care of five, ten, fifteen, maybe twenty patients simultaneously," says Bragg

"So, instead of going to each one and pulling vitals from them, I can place off-the-shelf sensors and they can get alerted when they need to focus on one. If one is doing well, the medic can provide care to whoever needs it the most." 

2.) Cold Weather MREs and Paratrooper Energy Bar

You are what you eat. That's why the U.S. Army's Natick Soldier Research, Development & Engineering Center works tirelessly not only to bring us the once illusive pizza MRE, but to bring nutrition to a variety of environments. 

By using cutting-edge food science and technology, they've successfully developed a cold weather MRE, also known as Meal Cold Weather (MCW). Intended for either cold weather or high-altitude operations, this invention contains absolutely no water, which means Marines training in Norway, or soldiers assigned to Alaska won't be opening up a solid block of ice when they get a few minutes to eat. 

 

Photo Credit: Matt Saintsing for Connecting Vets

Unlike MREs, the MCW has to be reconstituted with 16 ounces of boiling water that rehydrates the meal. It's very light-weight and high in calories, which is important given human bodies tend to burn more calories in a cold-weather environment. 

Then there is the paratrooper bar, the inspiration came from common accidents when conducting airborne operations. A few years ago, the 82nd Airborne Division approached Natick with an increase of static-line parachute injuries. After airborne soldiers stand-up, hook-up, and shuffle to the door (c'mon, you know the cadence) as they're going out the door of the aircraft, soldiers were catching the static lines around their arms and necks, causing either serious injuries or deaths. 

"When they started to analyze what was going on, they actually determined a linkage between them not having eaten in eight hours, because of the airborne timeline, their standard operating procedure said they couldn't eat anything after they were hooked up to the harness," says Jeremy Whitsitt, deputy director for the Combat Feeding Directorate. 

The connection was then made that since they weren’t eating for several hours, maybe they weren't cognitively performing at their highest abilities and were having accidents. 

Natick provided the paratrooper nutrition bar for airborne soldiers to eat an hour or two before they actually make the jump, to boost their mental capacity. After consulting with an outside medical institute, they put 200 milligrams of caffeine into an existing bar and produced them for the 82nd. 

On one of their training jumps in Poland and Germany during a transatlantic exercise two years ago, every soldier ate one and their incidence of static-line injuries dramatically decreased. 

"There is absolutely a connection between what you eat and how well you perform," adds Whitsitt.

"Food is fuel and there's no other more flexible weapon on the battlefield than the soldier and if you want them to be operating at the highest level you have to be concerned about the kind of fuel they're putting into their bodies." 

3. Tec Torch

This handheld breaching tool looks may look like something straight out of Star Wars. But this lightsabre-esk tool will surely be a staple for any door-kicker, and some first-responders. 

Photo Credit: Matt Saintsing for Connecting Vets

Developed in partnership with the Air Force Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer office and EMPI, a small Texas-based business, the Tec Torch harnesses the power of a thermite grenade in the palm of any badasses's hand. 

Special operators tend not to be welcomed with open arms when they arrive on an objective, and as such, they wanted a lightweight, handheld tool that would allow them to cut through locks, bars, and other barriers they commonly come across. 

The Tec Torch can cut through inches of steel in less than a second, and reaches a peak temperature of more than 6,000 degrees Fahrenheit. But it won't hurt the operator because the energy is so intensely focused, it burns real hot, real fast, then quickly dissipates. 

And there's also civilian applications, especially for fire fighters looking to get people out of car accidents quickly. Oh, and it works under water, in space, and everywhere in between. 

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