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Archive for Thursday, March 14, 2002

MIT receives $50 million grant to develop futuristic battle uniform

March 14, 2002

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— The U.S. Army is hunting for a new military uniform that can make soldiers nearly invisible, grant superhuman strength and provide instant medical care.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology says it is up for the task.

The school said Wednesday it has been awarded a five-year, $50 million dollar grant to develop the armor, which could detect threats and protect against projectiles and biological or chemical weapons.

"We're not there yet, but it's not science fiction," said Ned Thomas, director of the MIT-affiliated Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies.

All this would be achieved by developing particle-sized materials and devices  called "nanotechnology"  nestled into the uniform's fabric.

Supercharged shoes could release energy when soldiers jump, propelling them over a 20-foot wall. Micoreactors could detect bleeding and apply pressure. Light-deflecting material could make the suit blend in with surroundings.

MIT's research centers had been working on nanotechnology ideas long before getting involved with the Army, but not with military applications in mind.

But the groundwork has been laid for revolutionary advances, Thomas said.

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