I am a science buff with eleven undergraduate hours in physics. It is not the same as being a nerd, because I don’t carry a cell phone or an i-pad, and I am not cognitive of or concerned for the latest electronic gismos.
Most of my interest in theoretical physics, however I am always intrigued by science technology developed to real world uses.
I have recently run across a book Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the Twenty-first Century by P.W. Singer. It is a fascinating book that covers Predator Drones and robotics that has been developed for the military.
Under President Obama our drone strikes have been surgically precise and deadly. We hear occasional mention of them and most lately they were highlighted in the takedown of Kadafi. However, there are hundreds of strikes and surveillance flights that have taken place in the Middle-East and in Africa that we never hear of.
The Predator Drones are remarkable. The newer ones can take off and land by themselves. They can see through clouds and even operate in total darkness; and they can remain airborne for hours or even days over selected targets.
These unmanned Predator Drones are the weapon of the future and presently the Air Force is training more drone operators than conventional pilots.
The U.S Customs service is beginning to use UAV’s (unmanned airborne vehicles) and within the next few years we can probably expect to see them as tools of civilian police departments.
Drown warfare is no longer a figment of science fiction. The U.S. army has a number of mechanical soldiers on the drawing board and presently they are testing some versions in the field.
The DOG in a mechanical quadruped designed to help soldiers transport heavy loads across difficult terrain.
The BEAR is a somewhat humanoid track vehicle that is capable of gently lifting and carrying loads of up to 500 pounds across extremely difficult terrain.
The SWORD is a small track vehicle with telescopic eyesight that can be armed with a 50 caliber machine gun, ground-to-air rockets or anti-tank rockets. In all test this super deadly killing machine has scored 100% in accuracy.
Even more intriguing are the micro-drones. The old adage of “a fly on the wall” has become a reality, for a micro-drone could be programmed to fly into a room and attach itself to a wall or ceiling, and broadcast video and audio.
There is even speculation about micro-micro drones that could each be programmed for a specific reconnaissance objective and flown in a swarm, sharing information like a hive. The possible uses of these mechanical insect clouds are limited only by the imagination.
It is not only land and air, for the Navy is developing unmanned submarines, and surface vehicles capable of protecting surface ships, tracking enemy submarines or being used for search and rescue at sea.
I find all this interesting, but also a sad comment on our nation: can you imagine what we could accomplish if our priorities were to channel federal money into technology and research for the benefit of human kind rather than for war and killing.