Posted: January 9, 2008

Future soldier will generate power

(Nanowerk News) An article in Design News describes how the American soldier of the future will be garbed in an array of lightweight nanoscale materials that will provide ballistic protection, produce power through solar energy and integrate electronics that can monitor health and provide assistance when needed.
Some of these solutions are in development at the MIT Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies. The article lists several examples of what the Army wants:
  • New polymers with improved tensile properties that can increase ballistic protection and reduce weight over current individual protection systems. One target is liquid crystal polymer fibers.
  • New materials for energy absorption and vapor permeability cooling management for helmets.
  • Improved lightweight, integrated communications devices.
  • Chemical and biological protection.
  • Integration of novel flame retardant systems into low-cost fibers for flame and thermal protection.
  • Development of textile systems that cloak soldiers from infrared and other sensors used in enemy surveillance.
  • Development of body-worn interactive systems that integrate electronics into protective clothing.
  • Biomechanical devices that help soldiers in the field handle larger loads, such as an exoskeleton.
  • Solar and fuel cells that soldiers can wear. The Army wants power levels of 20 to 30W. The cell can weigh no more than 0.6 kg.
  • Source: Design News
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