Infantry: Dirt That Talks

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October 5, 2012: No matter what military equipment is designed to do, troops in a combat zone, faced with life-or-death situations, will find additional uses the equipment developers did not anticipate. This sort of thing has been around for a long time and the military calls it "field expedients." Take, for example, the infrared (heat sensitive) cameras used in small UAVs for night operations. Troops have found that using the infrared camera during the day will often show where dirt has recently been disturbed along a road or trail and that usually indicates a recently buried bomb. When these bombs are buried cooler earth is dug up and troops are often able to detect what that looks like as their Raven UAV flies ahead of a convoy or patrol.

Manufacturers of this equipment request rapid feedback from the troops, and they can now get it because even in a combat zone most soldiers or marines can send email or post a message at a UAV manufacturers web site (often in sections only for military personnel). In the case of the daylight use of infrared the troops wanted to know if these infrared cameras could be tweaked for use during the day to detect recently disturbed earth.

 

 


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