Five defence industry technologies — right out of science fiction — that are real today

With modern technology and science advancing at an incomprehensible rate, it is no wonder that we are seeing some incredible new inventions hitting the headlines. However, when it comes to the most jaw-dropping creations, we have to look beyond the Back to the Future style self-tying shoelaces. We want to take a look at some of the most eye-catching defence industry innovations of tomorrow — today. We are at that sweet spot in history now where we see some of the crazy inventions from old 70s films actually come to life — as the technology finally catches up to the imagination. From robots to weapons, to artificial intelligence, let’s take a look at the five most incredible inventions within the defence industry that could change the world forever.

 

A smart bullet that never misses? Think of it as the smart cruise missle of bullets. Image DARPA.

 

5 – DARPA’S EXACTO AI Bullets — never miss a target

As if bullets weren’t deadly enough, it seems as if inventors are now embedding AI technology into the killing machines. When it comes to shooting someone over a long-range, snipers have to take into account the weather, wind speeds, humidity, and even the rotation of the earth to hit a perfect shot. DARPA is now working on a “smart” .50 calibre bullet, packed with sensors designed to change direction in mid-air automatically. A perfect shot every single time. [1]

How does Invisibility Cloak work? Video:

4 – Quantum Stealth — virtual invisibility

That’s right; the invisibility cloak is here. The Quantum Stealth design works by bending light around the object that you want to hide, making it appear as if there is nothing there. The technology is essentially just a massive upgrade on camouflage, allowing people to remain almost completely hidden, whether it’s to avoid a predator or sneak up on an adversary.

Watch the US Navy in action with working laser weapons:

3 – Laser Cannons — real “death rays”

We have all seen laser cannons in action on the big screen — from Star Wars to Star Trek — but as “destructive weapons” lasers have always been pure imagination. Perhaps no more. The Navy recently tested a laser weapon on the USS Ponce in the Persian Gulf, and initial tests looked promising. They are now looking to scale up the size of their laser weapons. Meanwhile, the army is looking to mount similar tech onto the back of trucks to destroy things like drones.

Watch DARPA video on the Sea Hunter AI drones:

2 – Submarine Hunter — AI hunter drones

Covert submarines are becoming an indispensable part of modern warfare and surveillance, so it only seems natural that people are looking for ways to counteract them. DARPA is currently working on their Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel, or ACTUV for short, or Sea Hunter. This is an uncrewed vessel, equipped with sonar, radar, and much more to track down enemy submarines for months at a time without the need for a crew. [4]

 

DARPA ASW (Anti Submarine Warfare) drone.

 

1 – Invisibility — for real?

If you thought the Quantum Stealth was crazy, you haven’t seen anything yet. Scientists at the University of California are hoping to grant humans the ability to become invisible by using patches made up of the structural protein from a common squid. This would allow the person to change the colour and reflectiveness of their skin, rendering them invisible. [5]

 

 

 

NOTES

[1] Exacto AI Bullets>>

[2] Quantum Stealth>>

[3] Laser Canons>>

[4] DARPA Submarine hunter>>

[5] Invisibility Cloak, University of California>>

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