The 10 best inventions of 2020

The research laboratory of the American Army, the CCDC ARL, finances research programs supposed to foreshadow ”  the technologies of the future to equip responders during strategic operations “. He has just revealed the list of his most beautiful technological advances of 2020.

A sniper, accompanied by a dog drone overkill, which prints his tank in 3D and whose brain is scanned in real time by the command: Here are the soldier of the future according to the research laboratory of Army land American (the US Army CCDC Army Research Laboratory ), which has compiled a list of its 10 best technological advances of 2019. Projects still in the research stage but which speak volumes about the vision of tomorrow’s war by the American army.

Plastic artificial muscles

To equip their future robot companions on all fours, the American army is working on artificial muscles made from plastic, in order to increase their power tenfold. The researchers notably studied the ability of plastic fibers to contract and stretch when they are twisted and wound on themselves. ”  These artificial muscles can respond to different stimuli like a biological muscle, ” says the team specializing in polymer science. Terminator is not far away.

Mini-sensors to check soldiers’ health

Detect exposure to a toxic agent, monitor the soldier’s state of stress or his level of performance: researchers are developing autonomous, inexpensive, and resistant to the worst environmental conditions biosensors to integrate them into soldiers’ equipment or directly on the skin. ”  We can thus collect in real-time a whole series of data from blood, saliva or sweat, and establish a complete check-up,” predicts the ARL.

A fire resistant battery

The problem with current lithium-ion batteries is that they contain a highly flammable electrolyte. These batteries represent a great danger for the soldiers who carry them on them. In collaboration with the University of Maryland, the military has designed batteries with a water-based … electrolyte. This technology, called an aqueous electrolyte, uses lithium salts that are not sensitive to heat. ”  This allows the batteries to be stored and used at a much wider temperature range, ” says Arthur von Wald Cresce, an army materials engineer.

Hydrogen in tablet to dilute

”  Imagine a patrol in operation, out of battery, and with an urgent need to reach its base by radio, ” questions Kris Darling, army materials specialist. The solution? ”  A soldier urinates in a bottle, adds a tablet of hydrogen which dissolves and produces pure energy to power the radio “. Researchers are studying the properties of an alloy nanogalvanise made of aluminum which reacts with any liquid to produce instantly hydrogen on-demand, without a catalyst .

Ultra-resistant 3D printed steel

”  A logistics revolution ,” according to Brandon McWilliams, research director at ARL. Rather than desperately waiting for spare parts for Army vehicles, it will suffice to print them directly on the spot with a 3D printer. The researchers took over a technology originally developed by the Air Force called  Powder Bed Fusion , where a laser melts a special metallic powder in a predefined pattern. ”  This allows you to create parts with complex characteristics that no mold could create, and about 50% stronger than anything available on the market, ” says Brandon McWilliams.