Apparently, the US military forces have hired some seriously good R&D help, as we've seen the Navy's 8-Megajoule railgun
, the Army's war-tested iRobots
, and now the Air Force has something of their own to boast about. Nova Sensors of Solvang, California has designed the Variable Acuity Superpixel Technology (VAST) system, which is reportedly capable of tracking "anything slower than a bullet," but the shifty part is that this camera can home in on speeding shells as well, hopefully lending a hand in protecting soldiers in the years to come. The machine focuses on heat bursts emitted in the infrared range by moving bullets in order to detect an incoming projectile; ideally, it would be connected to "active armor" that could move, expand, or otherwise protect an individual or a entire platoon if a stray (or purposeful) bullet was headed their way. The system includes software that "mimics the fovea in human and animal eyes," and essentially provides high-resolution focal points of the incoming shells
while making everything else low-resolution in order to showcase what's really
life-threatening. While we're fairly certain these guys won't be coming out with a commercial rendition suitable to block those laser-guided office missiles
that nail you in the kneecap every morning, be sure to click on through for a short demonstration of VAST in action.