Magazine article The Futurist

Nanotech Warriors. (Technology)

Magazine article The Futurist

Nanotech Warriors. (Technology)

Article excerpt

Tomorrow's armies will have uniforms that protect, heal, and store enough energy to catapult soldiers over 20-foot walls.

"Imagine the psychological impact upon a foe when encountering squads of seemingly invincible warriors protected by armor and endowed with superhuman capabilities," says Ned Thomas of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, part of the team selected by the U.S. Army to use nanotechnology to create lightweight materials for soldiers' uniforms, helmets, and other gear.

For example, researchers plan to develop a uniform that incorporates soft fabric that can become rigid when a soldier breaks a leg. Everything will be designed with the protection and survival of the soldier in mind.

The innovations will be developed at MIT's new Institute for Nanotechnologies and will draw on the expertise of MIT faculty and scholars, private industry, and physicians from two hospitals. "We hope to deliver some goodies early," says Thomas, but he added that some products are truly futuristic and many years from becoming a reality.

Nanotechnology involves engineering at the molecular level to generate fundamentally new structures exhibiting novel physical, chemical, and biological properties. …

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