Dec 19, 2008 | 4
The persistent concern of when and where terrorists will strike next—heightened by the Mumbai attacks—has led to a number of tech innovations over the past several years, including full-body airport security scanners and adhesives designed to keep buildings from blowing to pieces if bombed. One of the most intriguing of these inventions is a laser system developed to keep terrorist-fired infrared, "heat-seeking" missiles from striking unsuspecting aircraft (both military and civilian).
The Jeteye infrared beam, developed by London-based BAE Systems, blinds a heat-seeking missile's navigation capabilities, giving an airliner a better chance of getting away unscathed. (Although that doesn't solve the problem that the missile could do damage wherever it lands.) Jeteye senses the incoming missile's "infrared tracking signal (with which the missile paints its target) and pulses a super-intense beam of light into the missile's reticle, or eye, scrambling its brains," Conde Nast Traveler reported this week on its Web site.
Nov 20, 2008 | 8
Piracy on the high seas is making a comeback this year, particularly off the coast of the African nation Somalia, where raiders are using increasingly more powerful and sophisticated technologies to attack ships and hold their crew and cargo for ransom. Technology makers are hoping to come to the rescue with ultraloud sound systems, electrified guardrails and other gadgets designed to help shippers avoid becoming the next victim.
Perhaps the most alarming example was the taking of the Ukrainian ship, the MV Faina, loaded with 33 Russian-made T72 tanks and ammunition originally bound for Kenya. The Somali pirates, who commandeered the ship in September, are demanding $20 million for its return; the tanker is currently moored off the coast of Somalia.
Oct 15, 2008
Sixty years ago, the Raytheon Company gave us the first microwave oven. Today, the company, perhaps better known for its missiles, is looking to sell the U.S. military a microwave-based weapon they say will help soldiers control crowds without the risk of seriously injuring anyone.
Raytheon calls its Active Denial System (ADS) technology a "revolutionary non-lethal protection system that employs millimeter wave technology to repel individuals without causing injury." Here’s how it works: Active Denial emits a focused beam of wave energy that travels at the speed of light, heating the water in a person's outer layers of skin and producing an "intolerable heating sensation that causes targeted individuals to flee." Translation: You feel intense pain, but you don’t get hurt, according to Raytheon, which claims that tests show the effects can reach through cracks in and around concrete walls and even through the glass of automobiles.
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