The future of US defence technology is so bright we should all wear Ray Bans. Exciting pipeline technologies with applications not only to the life sciences, but applications which will revolutionize how we conceive of defence in the first instance is now coming into focus on the event horizon. Two specific technologies likely to lead in this fundamental shift in how weapon research is conceptualized are 4D printing and DARPA's VARP project. These technologies have the capacity to change how defence technology is researched and developed at the structural level much like the invention of the gun in 14th Century China. How and why are these two technologies so revolutionary?
DARPA's Vanishing Programmable Resources program which issued a 3.5 million award to IBM to study the possibilities of 'strained glass substrates' that would crumble on command, was recently presented in an article by Defensetech See: http://defensetech.org/2014/02/03/darpa-wants-self-destructable-computer-chips/#ixzz2sd6y64ZU. As if distructible computer chips weren't exciting enough, I believe applications to 4D will usher in a fundamental change in how we conceive of battlefield technology and conduct war.
The ability to transform an object and then get rid of it when its utility ends is an exciting prospect. Certainly this could be applied to non-lethal weapons and the destruction of parts which would render certain capabilities inoperable. The technology has not only defensive applications but offensive ones as well.
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