Top 5 Gadgets on the High-tech Soldier


Helmet-mounted Radar

Sometimes the figurative phrase "fog of war" takes on literal meaning for soldiers on the ground. Smoke, darkness, shrubs, walls and dust storms obscure the troops' view on the battlefield, creating a huge range of potentially deadly scenarios. Enemies, especially those hiding in urban jungles, might be hiding around any corner.

But what if a solider could detect enemies running through a smoke screen or behind a concrete wall? That's the idea behind the helmet-mounted radar systems currently under development.

The Helmet Mounted Radar Program hopes to provide soldiers with 360-degree coverage via Moving Target Indicator sensors that "see" movement up to 25 meters (82 feet) away [source: Dillow]. The entire system should weigh less than 2.5 pounds (1.1 kilograms), with less than half of that load affixed to the helmet [source: Fallon]. Thus equipped, soldiers will be able to detect motion that could tip them off to potential ambushes.

Because the product is still being researched as of this writing, it's hard to say how it will use visual, audible or other warning cues. Perhaps it will work in tandem with other gadgets soldiers currently carry.

There are other concerns to address as well, such as radiation exposure to the wearer and false alarms tripped by fellow soldiers or a pack of stray dogs, for example. But there's little doubt that a properly calibrated system would benefit soldiers struggling to find enemies who are willing to take cover just about anywhere.