Boston Dynamics’ WildCat robot
Boston Dynamics has built yet another astounding animal-inspired robot; WildCat. Based on the company’s super-fast Cheetah robot, WildCat takes its feline scamper off the treadmill and out into the open.
It forms part of DARPA’s Maximum Mobility and Manipulation programme, which uses nature as an inspiration for the development of more versatile military robots.
While seeing this metallic feline stalking over the horizon might inspire the fear factor in enemies, compared with a real cat, it looks a bit like it is running backwards.
Dstl helicopter attack simulation
While cat-like military robots may be a far-future vision, ground-launched attacks against helicopters are a real and present threat.
Very realistic simulation could help engineers design new ways to counteract missiles, before turning to live-fire scenarios.
The UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) has asked the defence industry to come up with ways to improve its Battlespace 2-based Helicopter Countermeasure Assessment System. They also want a realistic imitation gun which simulates recoil, muzzle flare and smoke.
The programme will help develop solutions that better represent weapon effects and aircraft reaction, and ultimately develop more effective techniques, procedures and countermeasures.
D3O impact protection
Another company helping to protect members of the armed forces is smart materials specialist, D3O.
D3O manufactures a range of products called Trauma Reduction Unrivalled Shock Technology (TRUST) for the military market.
These include helmet liners made from the company’s dual-density Decell material; a non-Newtonian liquid that becomes rigid on impact, helping absorb the force of a blow.
As even the best ballistic protection is unable to fully protect soldiers from head trauma, this could be a welcome addition to standard kit.
In the next edition of Latest In Defence we’ll be reporting on the UK’s National Army Museum’s new Unseen Enemy exhibition, which tells the story of Improvised Explosive Devices.
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