News Stories

War Will Never be the Same

with these inventions! - The military has deep secrets, and some of their inventions are bizarre AND useful. A new kind of engine, invented by an American, is being built by the Chinese, who claim it could revolutionize airplane travel, space travel and war.. Meanwhile, DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (the men who stare at goats (NOTE: subscribers can still listen to this show) branch of the Pentagon) is at it again: Military scientists are trying to develop a flying military vehicle that will hold up to 4 people and have the ability to launch vertically, like a helicopter, and soar silently when necessary.

Emdrive, invented by American Roger Shawyer, basically consists of a space filled with microwaves, which creates a thrust (similar to the way a jet plane is propelled). But nobody is sure exactly how or why it works and skeptics say the vehicles that Shawyer uses to demonstrate his new technology must actually be powered in some other way.Shawyer's dream is a domestic airplane that can make long distance flights in a much shorter amount of time, sort of like the now defunct Concord. He thinks that a spacecraft powered by Emdrive technology could replace the space shuttle

And why would it be useful in future warfare? In Wired.com, David Hambling reports that "There is also no telltale rocket exhaust plume, and this may be the source of some of the interest. At present, the launch of a ballistic missile anywhere on Earth can be immediately spotted from space. An Emdrive-based launch system would be undetectable and could arrive from any direction, leaving the target of an attack no way of knowing who to retaliate against."

In Networkworld.com, Michael Cooney reports that the flying car DARPA is working on is called the Transformer (TX). It would be useful as a military tank because when troops encountered water, or other obstructions, they could just fly over them, James Bond style.

DARPA is influenced by other movies as well, such as the polite robot C3PO in the original "Star Wars." Right now, troops in Iraq and Afghanistan who are trying to eavesdrop on the enemy chatter on insurgency radio frequencies first have to separate the speech from the background noise, then hand the radio to an interpreter who can translate from the Arabic into English. They are working on creating a robot that can isolate the talk, then translate it instantly. In Wired.com, Katie Drummond writes, "Can R2D2 be far behind?"

To learn more, click here, here and here.

Art credit: Dreamstime.com

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