View Full Version : $1,000,000 UltraLight Contest!

2007-07-17, 11:54
That's right, $1,000,000! (http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/07/16/wearable.power.prize/index.html)

Inventors across the country are being asked to find a way to lighten the load U.S. soldiers carry on their backs -- largely due to the high-tech gear that uses batteries -- and the solution will be decided in a $1 million contest.

The Department of Defense is asking a person or team to come up with a way to lessen the weight of the 20-40 pounds of batteries a solider carries on a typical four-day mission. The batteries power everything from soldiers' GPS systems to their night-vision goggles.

So, maybe it's been a while since I've been in, but I wonder if anybody thought of maybe using a compass and map instead of GPS, paper and pencil instead of a computer? I mean, come on! I carried a maglite and a walkman; nothing else too batteries. But hell, if they are still using those monster batts for the cingars, maybe somebody should send in a D Cell battery or two.

2007-07-17, 13:14
Spice, I agree. I will say that a lot of the commo stuff is battery intensive. The best way to cut battery weight is reduce amp draw and use lithium batteries. I didn't use a SINGARS much before I retired, it seemed like a battery-hungry boat anchor to me, but you didn't need to carry another encryption device like you did with a PRC-77. The SF course doesn't even teach Morse Code to their communicators, so I guess HF radios aren't of much use anymore. Everything is FM or SATCOM, with the latter, you need some way to digitize it, that means a little laptop. I wonder what they are going to do when the Chinese start shooting satelites down, as they recently demonstrated they have the capability to do (thank you Loral Corp and Bill Clinton). We'll have SF teams deployed with no commo, going into E&E mode. I am certain now that the average staff-sergeant is wiser than the average general.

2007-07-17, 13:20
ION!!!!!!! And associated accesories.

2007-07-17, 18:07
nuclear batteries. The technology is there. The safety is not.

But then when did americans care much about safety.

heck, it can't be worse than smoking, and McDonalds.

Where's my nuclear batteries! Im dying as fast as I can anyways.

Might as well give me "AA"'s that last 25 years dammit!
But of course we'll never have them. Like electric cars..... they don't allow
things that are "too good". Instead we settle on "slightly-better" than
existing technologies with carefully controlled price hikes.
Like Arnold and his hydrogen hummer campaign.

2007-07-17, 18:41
I agree that there is likely technology already available. A comprehensive approach would be a combination of lightening weights of all gear, reducing amp draws of electronics, providing alternatives to electronics, providing better batteries, and providing more mobile and distributed recharging and electrical generating capacity. What's needed is a better systems approach, with less bureaucracy associated with procurement and supply and services.

Then again, it is probably just another insincere public relations campaign.
Ah well. I guess if it does help I hope it works. Even if does insult our intelligence.

2007-07-17, 18:56
God Nuke AAs, You ever leave a set in your walkman and forget about them for a year (or six) Imagine the little chernobyls we'd all have in our garages.

I was lucky, I was TacSat. We didn't need batteries, we just needed two generators, two HMMWVs (one for the shelter, one for the dish) and four chinooks, and we could shoot move and communicate. lol. That said, I eventually wound up working a CINGARs based manpack sat rig on the back of a very stripped down HMMWV. We could sling load tac sat, we could air drop the manpack. But my friends always looked at me crazy when I cam back and talked about the "manpack" assuming I was talking about the showers.

I have heard that there are powerfilm solar tents being made in the style of the gp large used for operations tents. Any current duty soldiers able to confirm this? I've seem the models, but can't imagine them lasting more than half a deployment.

2008-01-17, 20:08
just hand em a single rechargable D cell and put a couple bike generators on plungers in their boot heels. If they are rucking, they are charging.

2008-10-06, 13:08
I was reading about a wind-up led flashlight at L.L. Bean. No, the cranking noise would not be good for soldiers.

Okay, how about the Petzl E-LITE?

2008-10-14, 20:25
the average service member is either carrying a large ruck or is attatched to a truck
the answer is obvious and i tried to get them to see the light before i retired , they kinda did as i was happy to see a small little solar panel on a humvee before i left the army, current technology has produced a multitude of flexable durrable solar panels that work really well, heck i am listening to a radio that charged today laying out in the sun, my home well its totally solar with all its lighting entertainment and yes cooling and heating everything from the sun i live totally OFF THE GRID. I wished when i was beating the bush we had some of the folding panels and flexable solar panel covered back packs like they do now. It would of made the resupply issue sooooo much easier. I have been advised that the army is currently using some solar in the sand pit in an attempt to reduce suply trains from becomming hit so much, if it winds up saving lives and reduces our dependance on the bad guys (you have sceen the comercials) then so be it, its for me.

Rick S.
1SG Ret.

2008-11-17, 09:17
I was reading about a wind-up led flashlight at L.L. Bean. No, the cranking noise would not be good for soldiers.

Okay, how about the Petzl E-LITE?

http://www.olive-drab.com/od_electronics_scr578.php The good old "Gibson Girl" transmitter. We carried them (AN/CRT-3a) on P-3's till I got out in '76. Mostly good for keeping your hopes up while waiting to draw straws to see who ate who in the raft.

Ziggy Trek
2008-11-18, 18:36
Battery Sherpa

2008-11-23, 12:22
Rick has a great idea.

The problem is the Army wants soldiers to carry it all, and everything has a carrying strap, in the end you look like the Michelan Man, hoping you do not fall over.

I was watching some video from Afghanistan and I swear the "goat trails" look EXACTLY like the AT in Maine.

Tailoer the equipment to the mission, invest in lightweight gear, know it has to be replaced every 2-3 rotations in a rough environment, adn accept the cost.

The Army has reduced the weight of weapons, (another long discussion) yet soldiers carry the same heavy rucks, bags, and rations.

Hopefully someone with the power to make the changes willcontact long distance hikers and get our troops the gear and support to better accomplish their mission.

BTW, Don't attack my opinions, I am retired US Army.


2009-04-03, 10:06
Battery Sherpa

The military already has them. They're called PFC's.

2009-04-03, 10:47
I could sell them the plans for my Ghostbusters backpack reactor. That should do the trick......