Battletech Technology in the Real World

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You don't need Fusion engine to run a Uller or a Bushwacker. An engine capable to run a M1 Abrams tank could get the job done efficiently. Imagine a Bushwacker with tank treads, one arm has a 3 barrel Auto Cannon and the other has 40mm grenade launcher with a shoulder mount of 57mm FFARs pod. Taliban attacks the Bushwacker thinking its a tank except it elevates to the height of 15 feet. It's a two man crew, a pilot and a gunner and its rolling at them at 25 mph. That AC10 is computer aimed and its sending Taliban body parts in all directions. Oh look, the Taliban brought up a anti-tank gun and in their haste they miss. Targeting computer locks on and sends 10 - 75mm FFARs in their directions turning them to red mist and the gun into junk. The Bushwacker could hide behind a hill using it as a earthwork bunker while engaging enemy troops. If say a T-72 started firing at them, it could drop down in defense to retreat but before leaving leave 3 anti-tank bot-mines in case the T-72 follows and you know they will.
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Still no jump jets though. :(
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have you heard of JATO rockets? Attach to car and send it to orbit (literally).
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LOLz, combine this exoskeleton technology with that chip implanted into peoples brains to remote operate robotics and we have a real win!
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That is pretty amusing stuff. Apparently they used some on MythBusters (video may not be available in the US) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...
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No mention of the ITER ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I... ) project under the Fusion Power section? It's not complete, obviously, but then the NIF's fusion project was shut down in September 2012 pending reactivation as well...
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Thanks for the info. I tried to provide a few examples for each of the technologies discussed. It was not intended to be a comprehensive look at the current research, rather a sampling of what is being worked on.
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Developed by Ruskys during the Cold War in order to launch armored vehicles out of moving aircraft. Multiple vehicles out of the same aircraft. With the crews inside.
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Unfortunately practical scientific progress is mostly limited by money and since humanity doesn't cope well with Communism (which I think was actually an excellent idea) we have to live with what we got now.If the top 100 billionaires (http://www.bloomberg.com/billi... would put their spare change into a pool (which they aren't gonna spend all anyway) I guess research would get a hefty boost.But well wealthy people usually make sure they don't spend money on "useless things" :>And lobbists are also keen on making sure governments and investors don't spend too much money on things that would make their source of income disappear.An example of such stupidity:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B...Holding a patent on something that can kill you or make you lose your breasts and being able to basically charge as much as they want for diagnostics because no one else is allowed to = fun.Patents are another thing that plagues progress more than it ensures it which all leads back to people being greedy goblins who get mad when you want to steal their gold pot.Philosophical but seeing such things makes me a sad panda.
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Cool article. Glad i'm not the only one that's kinda like "yeah I thought fusion was gonna come in like...early last decade or something...what happened?"
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Oh, I'm sorry, but my Inner Grammarian™ insists: "ClarkE"!!! ;)Great article tho; thanks!
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Communism comes with its own issues including massively wasteful allocations of capital in places where it's unproductive. Oh and the whole, mass graves and loss of individual liberties thing.
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Cyberdyne? HAL? Oh God!
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Yeah, they really are tempting fate over there.
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NIF was always much closer to weapons research than to fusion power for electricity generation. So far it seems that tokamak based tech is the best bet for actual power plants. Sadly ITER got downsized and in fusion the size is important as you want maximum volume per unit surface area. Smaller size means higher losses.
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Can't really say that capitalism hasn't any victims to it's name. True they are mostly outside of US and Europe but they are there.Benefit of communism is that it at least entertains an idea of social responsibility and working together while capitalism is just crazy amount of egoism and do anything and fuck anyone to get more money. That is hardly going to be sustainable.
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Don't they do parachute deployment of vehicles with crews inside?
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Yea, for Sherridan, Bradley and whatnot. The advantage of retro rockets is that the aircraft doesn't have to go all the way down, never mind the pun.
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Fusion power is just an engineering problem now, the science has been done and many scientists are already moving on to other things. Mind you, it's still a massive engineering project. It's most serious problem is the fossil fuel business et al and the geopolitical implications of a post scarcity world.
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capitalism also ushered in the greatest technological and sociological advancements in human history. So I guess we take the good with the bad. I'm more than willing to let some greedy people make money in order to live 30 years longer.
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nope.
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As someone who worked on the UK future soldier program many years ago this article was a good read. I helped on a now declassified project to combine infantry helmet based heads-up-display technology with scope replacement video cameras (using bluetooth at the time). This allowed for a infantry to shoot around corners without putting their head on show.
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they did, but that was horizontal, think VERTICAL...

One of my favorite aspects of Battletech and the Mechwarrior games is the built-in connection with real world science and technology. The science of Battletech is much more grounded in reality than many tabletop games, and that is appealing to people like myself who are curious about how things work. It’s been a primary factor in the game staying popular and accessable for nearly three decades. What some people don’t realize is that the technology of the Battletech universe has become a piece of primary source history in the context of technological development of the 1980s and 90s. How they saw the future of warfare very much represents their understanding of the warfare at the time.

I’ve frequently been a witness to and occasionally a participant in discussions about the viability of the game’s technologies with players who use their perspective as someone living in 2013 to judge the game’s creators harshly. Of course, there are plenty of examples of Battletech equipment and design that seem quite silly when looked at from our 21st-century perspective. The very idea of spending years and years training MechWarriors to sit inside these lumbering behemoths seems wasteful, as we’ve seen the rise of unpiloted combat drones in the past ten years. It's much the same way that training the English longbowmen their entire lives became a huge waste of time with the emergence of the arquebus and grenadiers in 15th Century Europe.

That being said, there are some Battletech technologies that continue to tempt us with their possibilities today. Thankfully, there are some that appear to be just over the horizon.

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Myomer Cables (Artificial Muscle)

Battletech lore tells us that the first myomer cable, the artificial muscles that are wrapped around a battlemech’s limbs to allow for movement, were first developed in 2350 in a research project titled, “Operation Musclebound.” The lead researcher, Professor Gregory Atlas, was charged with the task of making these “microscopial poly-acetylene tubes filled with an acti-strandular fiber” into a viable technology.

For the Battletech newcomers, myomer cables are strands of wrapped plastic tubes that react by contracting when a strong electrical current is passed through them. Though he wouldn’t appreciate their later military applications, Professor Atlas was successful in making them useful beyond a scientific experiment.

The good news is that it probably will not take 337 years for this technology to become common place, at least in respect to the use of artificial materials to create an analog for muscle tissue. There are a variety of different types of artificial musculature already under development, some of which are very similar to the concept outlined in the Battletech canon. Electroactive polymers (EAPs), for example, are compounds that react to the presence of an electrical field by changing size or shape.

Though the concept of EAPs has been around for more than one hundred years, advancements in nanotechnology and materials to the point where EAPs become economically and practically viable have only occurred in the past few decades. The cost of manufacture has fallen, as well as the size of the required electromagnetic field to obtain the desired effect. EAPs are already being used in robotics as well as in a variety of other technologies, including the screens of phones and tablets. In one practical application, a tablet’s screen - which is imbedded with EAPs - will actually change shape and create a textured surface when the user pulls up the on-screen keyboard.

Over the next decade EAPs will become commonplace in factories as well as in the hands of consumers. The only question now is how long it will take for researchers to build me an Elemental Suit to crush my enemies and hear the lamentations of their pony-kin.

http://www.artificialmuscle.com/technology.php

http://video.mit.edu/watch/artificial-muscles-at-mit-13539/

 

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Lasers

Lasers have been around for a long time, and are a staple of science-fiction going back to the 1950s. Mankind has been fascinated by beam weapons even longer, so it’s no surprise that in the far-flung Battletech future, lasers are still a favorite on the battlefield. With 100 ton death machines wrapped around a fusion reactor, it is expected that some sort of energy weaponry exists to take advantage of the almost limitless possibilities of the energy source. Lasers hit the big time in the First Gulf War, as people around the world watched in awe and sometimes horror as cruise missiles tipped with video cameras showed the power and accuracy of laser navigation.

In 2013, we stand on the cusp of a new and more direct application of lasers in warfare. The U.S. Navy is planning on outfitting the U.S.S. Ponce with a $32 million dollar laser weapons system that can knock munitions and even planes out of the air using only electricity to charge the laser. Instead of using costly missiles or many thousands of rounds of ammunition to bring down a target, a single shot from the Laser Weapon System (Laws) costs roughly one U.S. Dollar. This is especially notable as it will be the culmination of a laser weapons development dream held by the U.S. Military going back generations. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in turning lasers into a viable weapon, and it seems their day has come.

http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA557757

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laser_Weapon_System

 

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A long-time tabletop and video game fan, MintFrog's antics offer no good explanation for why he hasn't yet been eaten by wolves.