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Nanotechnology Enables Lightweight Body Armor

Military types haven’t failed to notice that nanotechnology could make a big difference to how troops function, travel, and stay safe. The Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies (ISN) was established at MIT in 2002. Currently in the second of two five-year contracts with the U.S. Army Research Office, they are in the business of developing and taking advantage of nanotechnology to help soldiers survive in battle conditions.

One way they are trying to do that is by helping soldiers ditch their hefty packs (sometimes more than 140 pounds) in favor of lighter weight materials.Currently, soldiers carry around lots of equipment with no compatibility among the devices. Their clothing also doesn’t protect soldiers from bullets to a great enough degree.

A nanobattlesuit is being developed that could be as thin as spandex and contain health monitors and communications equipment. Nanomaterials can also provide strength that far surpasses currently available materials, providing bullet shielding that’s much more effective.

These jumpsuit style outfits might even be able to react to and stop biological and chemical attacks. This protection and these devices would be integrated into one suit that would be more efficient and lightweight than current packs.

Nanotechnology also offers the military the ability to miniaturize, which also cuts weight. A weighty field radio could become a device about the size of a button, worn on the collar, for example.

The U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Center has published a white paper that discusses how nanotechnology may be used in soldiers’ equipment in the future.

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