Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin spoke about the new ‘synthetic biology’ armour project when she visited a defence research lab at Porton Down.

Last year, the Centre for Defence Enterprise looked to invest up to £750,000 into new ways of using synthetic biology to create transparent materials that are thinner and lighter than used for existing armour and that could offer better protection.

“There is a need in the military for transparent armour that is highly robust, maintains its optical properties despite impact, and is compatible with night vision.”

Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin said:

“We’ve spent millions on innovation this year, developing technologies like a new way to uncover insurgents’ fingerprints to mini-drones that investigate chemical hazards. The goal is always to help our Armed Forces defend the UK, and this next generation of armour will make our troops even more alert and effective on the battlefield.”

The MoD say that research has indicated soldiers wearing ceramic armour could see a 35 per cent weight reduction, which could make them faster and more comfortable in a warzone, whilst maintaining a high level of protection.

The synthetic biology for the armour project has been running for four years and Dstl are now ready to put samples through hardness testing. They also confirmed that a scale-up process is underway to produce samples that can be used for live-fire testing.

10 COMMENTS

  1. I hear that the researchers at PD have been looking into the ability of the current British Government to operate without a spine in which develop their new technology.

  2. An AI recently was presented which is able to distinguish between humans and vehicles rapidly, at a success rate higher than humans themselves.

    What is interesting was this AI was written by another AI.

    We are now at the point where AI will be able to reproduce superior versions of themselves.

    Another AI (IBM) also learned, by playing itself, the game of chess. This wasn’t a computer with pre-programmed responses but an AI which actually learnt the game – in 4 hours. It has since developed new strategies never previously conceived of by humans and displays depths of analysis and positional play far exceeding what we can do. IBM’s engineers are hopeful that their algorithm, when applied to medicine, will be able to develop cures and treatments in days, that may otherwise have taken centuries.

    Couple these stories together and it quickly emerges that the future of both warfare and technological development will be AI driven. This is a very scary concept and one which should worry us all but sadly, unless we are at the forefront of this revolution we will not only be surpassed by our competitors and adversaries but left completely in the dust.

    A point of note, over 20 years ago, a genetic algorithm derived the physical principles governing a pendulum. It seems quite reasonable to me to conclude that these advanced algorithms will soon reveal previously unexplored realms of physics and be able to derive tests and equipment to probe the universe at deeper and more fundamental levels than we can even conceive of.

    The future is going to look very strange and there’s a good chance we will be bit players in it.

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