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Inspiring Bodies: Military Technology from Nature

Leslie-Anne Wray
RUSI Defence Systems, 1 April 2016
Air Power and Technology, Military Sciences, Technology
Current research into advanced materials technologies has been inspired by the human body. What could this mean for the future of defence technologies?

Technology has long been developed to protect the human body using materials stronger than the body itself. But many solutions have significant drawbacks in the field environment: for example, the weight of body armour can lead to reduced mobility and even potentially cause injuries. To resolve some of the problems presented by military equipment in a high-stress environment, scientists and engineers have been inspired by the human body and how it evolves. This is not new: an iconic example is Alan Turing’s Automatic Computing Engine that was designed to mimic the human brain and its ability to store, process and recall information. Whilst research into artificial intelligence continues at a rapid pace, scientists are now also increasingly beginning to explore the engineering properties of other parts of the body and how these can be drawn upon to meet military requirements.

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