Body armor is a commonplace feature to modern life. Whether it be ordinary civilian environments, high-conflict areas, or full-fledged warfare, body armor has its place across the board. Protection is the number one priority for mankind, and the advancements in body armor technology aren’t enough to satisfy people’s demand for perfection. This is why the process is never ending, and until body armor reaches the status of untouchable and unbreakable protector, humans will continue to strive for such a thing.
The future is bright for body armor, and we are currently experiencing a surge in attention for the need to develop more enhanced and sophisticated armor equipment. The volatile nature of the modern world is driving this rise, and the movement to advance body armor is laden with opinions and stances regarding the direction of the movement. Where will body armor go? What will body armor look like and be?
Ultra-strong, and artificially enhanced spider’s silk could one day make up the bulk of bullet proof vests. Lighter weight, and stronger than aramid as Kevlar, these silk vests will be the new bearers of the bullet stopping burden.
A genetically engineered silkworm could be used to produce this type of high-grade material, but other ways could involve chemistry that is currently beyond human comprehension.
Diamond has also been touched upon as a possible material used in tactical vests. Historically, this option wasn’t seen as a viable idea due to the rarity of diamonds, and its hard and non-malleable structure. this could all be remedied if diamonds can be mad produced synthetically, and broken down enough to provide sufficient protection underneath a vest.
Currently in development as the next big thing for armor plates is the plate known as nano-armor. Currently the Russians are leading the way with this technology, but as of right now, the technology still seems to be just over the horizon at least.
Made from ceramic plates, these plates will be infused with boron carbon to enhance the durability and overall strength beyond current capacities. One of the major developers of this technology, NEVZ-Soyuz, claims the plates will be “5-6 times” stronger than current high quality plates.
Bulletproof helmets in the battlefield of the future will be full facial protectors and soldiers won’t even realize they still have theirs on. We can absolutely know this because helmets in the current era aren’t anywhere near as protective as they need to be, and have too many open kinks in their armor.
A full visor that is fully bulletproof will be first to come, and then it will be followed by a neck protector for full protection against harm. Blast protection and protection against other forms of damage will be incorporated into the helmets, and all with continuous minimization of weight without structural compromise.
The helmet will house a GPS receiver for navigation and for reference to be used by the relevant forces, radio, and network connection instruments.
Researchers working out of the astute MIT, in coordination with the U.S. Army, have been developing technology that is set to change the way body armor functions — drastically. One such piece of technology involves a uniform that when an inbuilt switch is flicked, suddenly shifts its weight to be many times lighter than it originally was. This technology is also coinciding with a technology that can become more malleable and flexibly with the flick of a switch — technology that MIT hopes can be implemented into a super suit along with the weight shifting technology.
Lead engineer in the project, from MIT, Gareth McKinley, has detailed some of the technology’s ins and outs. The substance is that of an oily nature, that has particles of iron throughout. With the use of a magnet, this substance can be asked to “line up”, according to Mr McKinley, which explains some of what goes on when the substance performs the way it does.
This technology would be implemented into the uniforms of the future, where magnets would be largely replaced by electrical currents that could be controlled by the wearer. Some pose the idea that the uniforms could become self-reactionary, where the need to control the reactions would be replaced by a suit that does so itself.
Exoskeletons are another hot topic for armor experts and commentators, with many people citing them as an imminent reality rather than a science fiction story. A suit will enhance not only the protection the wearer garners, but also their abilities and performance threshold. Plugged into a soldier’s legs, or even spinal column as some experts have suggested, these exoskeletons will augment a user’s strength to inhuman capacities.
Super-suits, whether they are exoskeleton in nature or not, will be more of a real-life artificial human attachment than a thrown over protection instrument. Suits will relay messages back to command centres with information like psychological status, blood pressure, heart rate, hydration, and other complex readings. These kind of suits have been dubbed “warrior psychological status monitoring system”, and we can expect to see them more frequently as the future progresses and the technology is sharpened.
In many ways the future of body armor is upon us, but only time will tell how the story of human developed body armor will unfold.