Gov't developing smart suits to protect U.S. troops from bio attacks
Lawrence Livermore research team uses nanotubes to create clothing that one day could repel deadly attacks on military personnel
Computerworld - A U.S. soldier is on patrol with his squad when he kneels to check something out, unknowingly putting his knee into a puddle of contaminants.
The soldier isn't harmed, though, because he or she is wearing a smart suit that immediately senses the threat and transforms the material covering his knee into a protective state that repels the potential deadly bacteria.
Scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, a federal government research facility in Livermore, Calif., are using nanotechnology to create clothing designed to protect U.S. soldiers from chemical and biological attacks.
The researchers turned to nanotechnology to overcome the tough task of creating military-grade protective clothing that's breathable and isn't heavy to wear.
"The threat is nanoscale so we need to work in the nano realm, which helps to keep it light and breathable," said Francesco Fornasiero, a staff scientist at the lab. "If you have a nano-size threat, you need a nano-sized defense."
For a little more than a year, the team of scientists has focused on developing a proof of concept suit that's both tough and inexpensive to manufacture. The lab group is teaming up with scientists from MIT, Rutgers University, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and other schools to get it done.
Fornasiero said the task is a difficult one, and the suits may not be ready for the field for another 10 to 20 years.
Ross Kozarsky, a senior analyst with Boston-based Lux Research, said the effort could also lead to a lot of other uses for smart nano-based clothing or devices.
"I think it's definitely innovative. It's a pretty powerful platform technology," he added. "Materials that intelligently react to their external surroundings -- that is certainly an interesting class of materials. This is at the front end of the tunnel. Imagine an athlete wearing some kind of clothing that reacts to humidity or temperature and can make itself a lighter or warmer shirt."
Kozarsky also noted that smart clothing could be used for personal tasks, like measuring a user's heart beat, pulse and blood pressure.
The technology could also lead to smart footwear, which could, for example, transform itself to repel potential danger found in water and keeping the user's feet dry.
The military also might consider adapting the base technology so instead of a nano-infused fabric transforming itself to protect a human from a biological or chemical attack, the smart material could be body armor that automatically strengthens itself based on the stress it's under.
- Research on bendable glass could lead to flexible mobile phones
- Smart highways and driverless cars coming in 2030 -- for real?
- Google phone project could transform smartphones
- Swarm of bat-like flying robots could hunt for survivors or terrorists
- Scalpel. Check. Robot. Check. NASA bots, one day, may operate in space
- Gov't developing smart suits to protect U.S. troops from bio attacks
- California fights drought with big data, cloud computing
- Robots closer to being able to work together as a team
- Why wearable computing is waiting for A.I.
- 3D graphene-like material could lead to super electronics
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Shifting Gears: The Value of Customer-Driven Quality in Manufacturing In today's competitive manufacturing market, the customer must be the center of the quality universe. This paper details how manufacturers can improve customer...
- Aberdeen Group: Marketing Analytics for Manufacturing: Forging Customer Insights There are no recalls for poor marketing. Manufacturers need to get their customer intelligence and messaging right the first time. Learn how.
- Unlocking the Promise of Demand Sensing and Shaping through Big Data Analytics Many organizations have limited insight into big data. These limitations have significant opportunity costs and can have a negative effect on identifying and...
- The Brave New World of Customer-Centric Manufacturing The Unique Opportunity for Manufacturers to Better Understand their Consumers
- Webinar: Building a Big Data solution that's production-ready Big data solutions are no longer just a nice-to-have.
- Meg Whitman presents Unlocking IT with Big Data During this Web Event you will hear Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP discuss HAVEn - the #1 Big Data platform, as well... All Emerging Technologies White Papers | Webcasts
As emerging technologies evolve they often find an initial niche in highly specialized scenarios, or in specific industry verticals, before expanding to wider areas of applicability. Within these initial niches, the early adopters can be anything from digital enthusiasts to fashionistas, or they can be folks simply using the technology because it serves a specific need extremely well. (free registration required) more