Tag Archives: weapons

I for one, welcome our new robodog overlords…

Obligatory shout-out to Pentagon boffins for their most recent bout of world-domineering mad-scientica. The Pentagon proposes to:

…develop a software/hardware suit that would enable a multi-robot team, together with a human operator, to search for and detect a non-cooperative human subject.

According to Prof Steve Wright of Leeds Metropolitan University:

“What we have here are the beginnings of something designed to enable robots to hunt down humans like a pack of dogs. Once the software is perfected we can reasonably anticipate that they will become autonomous and become armed.

We can also expect such systems to be equipped with human detection and tracking devices including sensors which detect human breath and the radio waves associated with a human heart beat. These are technologies already developed.”

Like a PACK OF DOGS I SAY! Muahahahahahaaa!

You gotta laugh, right? 😉

[from New Scientist, via KurzweilAI.net][image from this New Scientist blog post]

Interesting juxtaposition of EMP technologies

It seems that various organisations are preparing for the war of the future with the news that the US military is working on an EMP bomb and a means of shielding electrical power grids from EMP bombs is under development, from The Register:

The electromagnetic pulse (EMP, aka High Power Microwave or HPM) weapon has long been theorised upon, ever since it was found that a nuclear explosion would produce such effects at the tail end of World War II.

People have speculated ever since that one might use EMP strikes – produced either by high-airbursting nukes, or perhaps by conventional explosives-pumped systems of some kind – for offensive purposes.

the US general in charge of the Air Armament Center has suggested that an HPM weapon “packaged in inventory munitions mold line” – ie, it is a bomb – is already at the stage of “industry technology assessment” and a technology demonstrator could be built next year.


“A rogue state or terrorist organization could easily acquire nuclear material for a smaller weapon for $20m,” says Charles Manto, president of Instant Access Networks corp.

“That weapon could be fitted onto a Scud missile for as little as $100,000, fired and detonated 80 miles into the air and affect the entire US east coast,” he adds.

Manto has just scored some state funding to prep the Maryland power grid for the inevitable terrorist Scud nuke pulse strike. He reckons to do this using “patent-pending shielding technology that encloses a room or similar structure and protects it from EMP events

Very sensible, I suppose: if you’re going to make a weapon then at least prepare yourself to be attacked by it.

If you should seek war, prepare for war.

[image from ladybugbkt on flickr]

The voice of God as a non-lethal weapon

god_sm.jpgThe US military continues to develop and deploy non-lethal weapon systems like the directed energy weapon from Raytheon. The latest system to come to light is the Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) that focuses sound waves into a beam that induces unbearable pain in anyone it strikes:

Anyone whose head was touched by this beam, heard a painfully loud sound. Anyone standing next to them heard nothing. But those hit by the beam promptly fled, or fell to the ground in pain.

It turns out that the device also functions as a pretty effective psychological operations (PSYOPS) tool:

LRAD can also broadcast speech for up to 300 meters. The navy planned to use LRAD to warn ships to get out of the way. This was needed in places like the crowded coastal waters of the northern Persian Gulf, where the navy patrols. Many small fishing and cargo boats ply these waters, and it’s often hard to get the attention of the crews. With LRAD, you just aim it at a member of the crew, and have an interpreter “speak” to the sailor. It was noted that the guy on the receiving end was sometimes terrified, even after he realized it was that large American destroyer that was talking to him. This apparently gave the army guys some ideas, for there are now rumors in Iraq of a devilish American weapon that makes people believe they are hearing voices in their heads…

It appears that some of the troops in Iraq are using “spoken” (as opposed to “screeching”) LRAD to mess with enemy fighters. Islamic terrorists tend to be superstitious and, of course, very religious. LRAD can put the “word of God” into their heads. If God, in the form of a voice that only you can hear, tells you to surrender, or run away, what are you gonna do?

Video games make better soldiers

crows.jpgTraditionally, vehicle mounted weapon systems required the operator to be exposed, usually with his head and shoulders sticking out of the top of the vehicle. Obviously this presents an enticing target to the enemy. To overcome this deficiency the US military has developed CROWS (common remotely operated weapon stations). With CROWS, the gunner is inside the vehicle, and observes his surroundings using video cameras with night vision and telephoto capabilities. CROWS also has a laser rangefinder and a stabilization mechanism that allows more accurate fire while the vehicle is moving. But it turns out that the real reason CROWS has been successful is that today’s soldiers grew up playing video games, very similar to the CROWS experience:

Since many troops have years of experience with video games, they take to CROWS quickly, and very effectively. That’s one reason, not often talked about, for the success of CROWS. The guys operating these systems grew up playing video games. They developed skills in operating systems (video games) very similar to the CROWS controls. This was important, because viewing the world around the vehicle via a vidcam is not as enlightening (although a lot safer) than having your head and chest exposed to the elements, and any firepower the enemy sends your way. But experienced video gamers are skilled at whipping that screen view around, and picking up any signs of danger. The army even has a CROWS trainer built into its America’s Army online game.

(Image source: GlobalSecurity.org)

Autonomous Killer Helicopters

Neural Robotics Incorporated makes an unmanned helicopter called the AutoCopter that can fly in either remote control mode or GPS-guided fully autonomous mode. Pretty impressive, but it gets downright scary when you add a fully automatic 12 gauge shotgun to it. At less than $100,000 apiece, this is downright cheap from a military standpoint, and even within the reach of large corporations. Imagine a swarm of these smaller-than-man-size helicopters chasing you down the street.