Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Because insurgents are like bears, I guess

Joe emails in this video about a Canadian inventor who's built a new suit of body armor he's trying to sell to the US and Canada. Inspired -- in his own words -- by everything from Robocop to Halo, I'd be defrocked from the Nerd Conspiracy if I didn't let out a little squeal of glee. But, there's some obvious problems with this suit.

First, the mundane problems. Obviously, I haven't worn the helmet, but I'm suspicious that you could build a full-head helmet that doesn't also limit the soldiers' vision. On top of that, the helmet necessitates two cooling fans, which any modern computer user will tell you is noisy. Noise that close to the head, inside the helmet, is a recipe for a soldier who is at best distracted, at worst can't hear an approaching Toyota 4x4. Finally the suit has LED lights all over, and unless there's a lot of user control, it's destined to give away a soldiers position at night.

More importantly, it's basically the embodiment of the current US doctrine with its soldiers -- protect them so thoroughly that you lose the war. Counter-insurgency thought is that your soldiers need to know the populace, need to live with them, need to befriend them. How friendly does this look to you?

That's what I thought. He looks like a Cylon. And not one of the hot ones.

There are certain aspects to this suit that are neat and will probably be adapted to future equipment for the Army (the helmet-mounted laser designator is a great idea, for a number of reasons) but this build really, really needs to be re-thought.

You can see the video here, or read an article about it here.

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