Weapons with Wi-Fi – the Internet of Battle Things (IoBT)

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June 4, 2018 | Originally published by Date Line: June 4 on

The grenade didn”t emit smoke or gas, or produce a blinding flash of light. Its purpose? To observe.

A long time ago, I spoke to a man working for an Israeli defence company about the strange and curious devices the company had developed, or was developing, for the Israel Defence Forces (IDF). I found one device he described particularly interesting; it was a grenade, but not for blowing people up. It was to be fired at range, from a rifle – but it wasn”t for destroying enemy vehicles or equipment, either. In fact, it wasn”t designed to damage or destroy anything at all.

It didn”t emit smoke or gas, or produce a blinding flash of light. As grenades go, it was a little less… aggressive.

Its purpose? To observe.

The Israeli military, at that time and since, has often operated in urban environments full of narrow alleys and cramped souks. These lend themselves to ambushes – walking down a main street, armed guerrillas could be waiting for the IDF around any corner.

This constant threat spurred odd Israeli innovations like the Corner Shot, which as its name suggests, allows the user to see and fire a gun around corners.

The grenade was another such innovation. Full of cameras, it could be fired over risky areas, streaming video and images of the area back to the soldier who fired it, to prevent them from stumbling into a trap.

It was only recently that I realized it was a glimpse into the future… where bullets are surveillance devices. But I’ll come back to that in a second.

Endless threads to “Things”

 “I want to network everything to everything.” ~Admiral John Richardson, chief of US naval operations

The next evolution of this “surveillance capitalism” lies in the Internet of Things, or IoT, and its endless thread to information.  To capitialize on this, the US Army has launched a program to develop applications for what it calls the Internet of Battle Things, or IoBT.

For more information on US Army IoBT efforts, see:

ARL Internet of Battlefield Things (IoBT)
ARL Battlefield Internet Technologies, Interconnected Robots Focus of New Army Programs