Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Six Billion Dollar Man: DARPA

Want to see the future of top-secret military technology? It's not so hard to find, after all. DARPA held the equivalent of a trade show and the results are eye-opening. How about mechanical legs that can be strapped on and allow someone to carry hundreds of pounds without even feeling it? Witness BLEEX, developed by Berkeley. They have video at the website which I'd like to check out. The other projects look even more impressive, from a pair of arms that can lift hundreds of pounds to a high-powered pogo stick. Our tax dollars at work. There's also a million-dollar race called Grand Challenge between unmanned vehicles going on the Mohave Desert. Sort of a cross between the Tour de France and Robot Wars. It could lead to a fleet of self-propelled Humvees...which I guess would be a good thing.

On a related note, why did I have to find this on an Arab website? It's about a new weapon being deployed in Iraq called the LRAD. It's basically a high-tech loudspeaker that causes splitting headaches and hearing loss in its target. It's supposed to be used for crowd control. Is there any limit to the secret weapons they've been pulling out for the war in Iraq?

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