Fight smarter not harder, a review of emerging military tech

Most technological advancement has been civilianzied from military programs, aircraft for ariel combat, telecommunications devices for effective battlefield communication, internet to transfer data and many more. This post will review some of the developed and conceptualised military tech projects the have been publicised and propose some civilian applications. Traditionally, advancements in military technology tend to be kept under a veil of secrecy, but there are some very interesting concepts and prototypes available for public knowledge. Of the multitude of projects and concepts, three have been reviewed for this post. They are the green bullet, force fields and exoskeletons. The first tech reviewed is the green bullet.

The green bullet is as it sounds, although it’s not necessarily a new concept as its development dates back to the late 1990’s. The difference between a ‘green round’ and standard ammunition is that lead is removed and replaced with more environmentally friendly copper. Not only is it safer for the environment it has positive long-term effects, obviously not for the target! War zones and conflicts have predominantly taken place in developing countries with many of the people utilising farming of crops or livestock as the basis for their daily activities and survival. The article Green Bullets (U.S. Military) published by Clive Dilnot quoted an alarming statistic, ‘during the height of active battle operations in Iraq, U.S. soldiers were using 5.5 million rounds of ammunition each month’. The potentially harmful levels of lead leaching from the millions of rounds into the already harsh land would make any farmable produce dangerous to consume. This may be a world away to some people but the conflict in Ukraine further limits some produce being produced impacting the country and its people long after the conflict has come to an end. The next topic is force fields.

In recent weeks a number of articles have surfaced relating to the potential development of force fields, primarily combating side on blasts of Improvised Explosive Devices’ (IED) and so on. According to an article on The next web, Boeing has devised a Laser pulse system that is triggered by shockwaves of an explosion. The system is called a shockwave attenuation via electromagnetic arc. Essentially, once the system detects a shockwave directed towards, for example a vehicle, the system sounds out its own shockwave towards the oncoming shockwave. The idea is that as both shockwaves meet, they cancel each other out thereby limiting any damage to the vehicle or personnel. There are claims that force fields could be utilised for civilian or industrial purposes seems just a little bit farfetched for the moment, exciting, but farfetched. The final review is on exoskeletons.

It’s not just Boeing developing new Military technology, Lockheed Martin, another aerospace giant is developing exoskeletons for military and civilian purposes. The primary concept is called the FORTIS exoskeleton as is defined as ‘an unpowered, lightweight exoskeleton that increases an operator’s strength and endurance by transferring the weight of heavy loads from the user’s body directly to the ground’. In August 2014, the US Navy took consignment of 2 FORTIS exoskeletons for use and evaluation in a military setting. The potential applications for reducing spinal and compounding injuries due to fatigue and excessive weight-bearing situations could not be under estimated. Along with the military application, Lockheed martin envisage a construction workforce able to achieve feats currently impossible by a lone worker.

Image curtosy of FORTIS Exoskeleton. www.lockheedmartin.com

Image curtosy of FORTIS Exoskeleton. http://www.lockheedmartin.com

Lockheed Martin are not the sole developers of an exoskeleton, as are Boeing in the development of force fields or the concepts of green ammunition. For instance the ReWalk is a robotic exoskeleton allowing the mobility impaired and wheel chair bound freedom they never thought possible. The future of military technology is an exciting prospect. The question is that if every soldier is able to withstand extreme situations and explosions being nullified, will anyone die on the battlefield and if not would there end up being a global ceasefire? The research into emerging military technology has shown that there are numerous organisations attempting to develop the next weapon, armour or some other military use. Although this was not going to be a series Emerging military technology will remain topic that FourFront Reviews will research and bring to you from time to time. Until , knowledge is power.

Emerging tech for developing countries (part two)

This is part two and final post for emerging technology for developing countries which focuses of waste management, housing and construction and information technology. Enabling and supporting emerging technologies for developing communities has far-reaching positive impacts as highlighted by the first topic for this post, waste managment.

Waste management has been a health and welfare issue for many countries, not just developing countries. The need for clean and safe waste Management is imperative to all communities. The re.source Sanitation organisation based in Haiti created a portable household toilet for informal settlements. The need for this concept was borne from the natural disaster where a great deal of infrastructure was destroyed and many people died from the diseases that took hold.

The housing and construction in some unforgiving environments can be a tough ask. So, how do you build cost-effective housing in these areas, simple. The Enactus Cairo University’s has developed earth bag housing. Utilising sandbags and some engineering knowhow the project can erect a sustainable, low-cost and stable dwelling within 15 days. The earth bag walls also protect the inhabitants from flooding and earthquakes and also provide a safe refuge during gunfire. Dwellings in some developing countries lack a reliable power source or any power at all. The liter of light – Switzerland organisation has developed an ecological solution to darkened dwellings during the day. Utilising a water and chlorine solution in a clear plastic bottle, then in half and half in the roof of a unlight dwelling. The results provide a defragmented light source equivalent to a 55 watt light bulb.

With the improvement of basic Information technology infrastructure benefits to developing countries are astronomical. Due to the high risk of tuberculosis and limited medical facilities, the Operation ASHA developed an Electronic Medical Record System (EMRS) to obtain biometric data through the use of fingerprint scanned and a wireless network device such as a small tablet. The device is referred to as an eComplience, which gathers data from tuberculosis suffers and transmits observations to a central medical team to monitor the patients health. Operation ASHA state that eComplience can be utilised to measure any long term diseases in patients. Utilising this emerging medical technology in these areas provides a level of care and welfare that may not have been present previously.

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There are a number of organisations like the Empowering People Network and charities such as the International River Foundation striving to improve the lives many people in developing countries that should be acknowledged and supported. Not all the technology is cutting edge, but emerging technology doesn’t always have to be. By very definition ‘emerging’ is for something to become apparent. Dedicating just a small amount of resources to improving any group, community and just an individual’s life is never a waste.

Emerging tech for developing countries (part one)

How can emerging and green technologies benefit some of the poorest people on earth? These people live in some of the harshest climates and geographies on earth. Improving their lives by bringing them up to health and well-being standards most of us take for grant does not seem to be a top priority, apart from a dedicated few. This two-part blog will highlight some of the projects and organisations trying to better the world through the use of simple and green technology. Part one of two will review water and health, food and agriculture and energy. Part two focuses on waste management, housing and construction and information and communication technology.

In 2005 the Swiss based company Vestergaard Frandsen released the Lifestraw®, a simple tubular device capable of removing water born bacteria and diseases. Vestegaard Frandsen state the ‘water filters convert contaminated water into clean, safe drinking water’ potentially providing a family of 5 with clean drinking water for up to 3 years. Vestegard Frandsen are not alone, Skyjuice Foundation based in Australia also produces water filtration systems for developing countries, but on a much larger scale.

Championing the aforementioned companies for the rest of this post would be easy, but who are the other companies making an effort that have yet to reach mainstream success. The Mother Nature network recently published an article about Cynthia Lam an Australian inventor, who has developed a water purification system which activates with sunlight. The onedollarglasses project is from a German inventor by the name of Martin Aufmuth. His concept providies affordable corrective eyewear hinges on utilising very cost-effective and robust materials that can be assembled at home.

In the area of food and agriculture, there are a number of great innovations being made. For instance, the hippo water roller is a 20lt circular container with a pole in the middle of each end that is bent around to form a handle. The hippo water roller project aimed to reduce the daily impact to women and children gathering water and placing heavy containers on their heads. The hippo water roller does exactly as it sounds, the containers can be rolled on the ground which reduces impact and significantly reduces time to gather the water. Theses containers allow a greater amount of water to be used for crops and food preparation as more water can be gathered daily, in turn providing more food and fresh water for communities.

With better infrastructure people in developing countries are gaining more access to mobile phone networks and the internet but not always a continuous or reliable source of energy. The African Renewable Energy Distributor has developed a mobile solar cell phone charger. These are portable devices that can attached to bicycles and mopeds. The concept enables the device to gain charge through solar cells and store the energy in lithium batteries. Its mobility allows it to be placed in numerous locations for mobile charging to occur.

Emerging Tech in Medicine

In recent months a number of articles have appeared across the web spruiking the potential for emerging technology to advance the field of medicine. An article was recently published indicating that brain matter can now be grown in a laboratory may be able to trace the origins of certain diseases such as mental health and dementia. If these speculations come to fruition it will have an enormous impact on the way certain diseases are treated or diagnosed.

A present, research and technological advancements in medicine seem to be occurring weekly. A quick search displays topics such as male contraception, artificial uterus, cryonics Stem cell treatments and nanosensors. LifescienceIntelligence.com lists an extensive number of current organisations and businesses currently developing emerging medical technology.

Unfortunately, legislation in a number of countries has not yet caught up with the technological advancements in medicine. For example, Stem cell research is still being debated. The main point of controversy is the method for harvesting stem cells which is primarily taken from a placenta or from the inner cells of a embryo. Despite the controversy, the discoveries through the research cannot be disputed. An article was published the past 24hrs stating that arthritis could be cured as researchers are utilising stem cells to grow new cartilage.

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The field of medicine is set for exciting discoveries. The foundation that stem cell research is setting will allow future emerging technology and advancements to have a far easier path to acceptance. The hope is that humans will be able to live longer and fuller lives with the aide of medical advancements currently in development. Emerging medical technologies is an intriguing and in-depth subject, which cannot be covering entirely in one blog. However, FourFront Reviews takes a keen interest in Emerging medical technology due to the profound implication on our existence and will bring readers breakthroughs and updates on emerging medical technologies in the future.