Talk: Laurel Braitman on "Nanotechnology and the American Supersoldier"
Date: July 22, 2009
Please note that due to technical difficulties, the recording cuts off at one hour, before the talk concludes.
In 2002, MIT partnered with the US Army and a small group of military
contractors, such as Raytheon, to make a battlesuit for the Future
Force Warrior—a project that sought to use nanotechnology (or the
purposeful manipulation of matter at nearly the atomic scale) to create
an invincible American soldier. This battlesuit was not just any new
soldier uniform—it was, in essence, a superhuman suit that would give
its wearer the ability to become bulletproof at light speed, to jump
great distances or lift heavy weights, to monitor vital signs and
perform CPR if the soldier needed it, to detect chemical and biological
weapons and deliver an antidote (custom made from a library of
ingredients stored within the suit), and to sense explosives as well as
a trained bomb-sniffing dog. Almost seven years later, the supersuit is
still in development—but one aspect of it—a handheld synthetic dog nose
called Fido that allows soldiers and security personnel to "sniff"
explosives—has left the lab and is being implemented everywhere from
our nation's airports and harbors to military checkpoints in Iraq and
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