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Grenade-Style Wireless Camera For Combat 333

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the you-gotta-be-kidding-me dept.
nk497 writes "A new wireless camera called the I-Ball is being developed to be shot into locations using a grenade launcher so troops can see what lies ahead. The I-Ball sends real-time, 360-degree video back to soldiers while it's flying through the air and when it lands."
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Grenade-Style Wireless Camera For Combat

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  • overkill (Score:5, Funny)

    by RemoWilliams84 (1348761) on Monday November 17, 2008 @01:29PM (#25788053)
    Why not just shoot the grenades in there. Then you'll know what lies ahead (bodies).
    • Re:overkill (Score:5, Funny)

      by bev_tech_rob (313485) on Monday November 17, 2008 @01:31PM (#25788089)
      ...or just add an explosive to it....will be able to see the surprise on their faces before they are blown to bits...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Shakrai (717556)

      Why not just shoot the grenades in there. Then you'll know what lies ahead (bodies).

      Yeah but it might be good to know if those bodies are enemies, civilians or friendlies before you frag them ;)

      My million dollar question: What's to stop your opponent from figuring out which frequencies this device transmits on and jamming it and/or targeting it with anti-radiation weapons?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Missing_dc (1074809)

      Great placement of this comment, considering the FP.

    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      by AceM2 (655504) *

      You know the answer to that... Because even if every guy in the room was a "bad guy", some liberal out there (a lot of them actually) would be crying because we didn't give them a chance to surrender. Even though the battle drill states to clear the room with a grenade, that's only under 100% hostile situations. Take a look at our current ROE in Iraq and Afghanistan.

      • Re:overkill (Score:5, Informative)

        by maz2331 (1104901) on Monday November 17, 2008 @02:21PM (#25788963)

        Good idea if it helps to avoid blowing up non-combatants, and useful for knowing where to call in the 500 pound bomb if necessary.

        As a general rule, it is always advisable to avoid barbequeing women and children who aren't involved in the fight if it's at all possible to do so. It's counterproductive and feeds the enemy's propaganda machine.

        • by AceM2 (655504) *

          Of course we don't want to kill civilians if we don't have to. If we could just drop a bomb every time we saw an enemy in a building that would be great. The problem is even with these inventions buildings are still going to have to be cleared. The problem is when the enemy can just as easily say that 500lb bomb blew up civilians even if we actually killed an insurgent cell. I only fear we may be trying to overly sugar coat a war with little inventions which we *hope* will save lives on all sides, but d

      • WTF is a bad guy? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Kris Thalamus (555841) <`selectivepressure' `at' `gmail.com'> on Monday November 17, 2008 @02:38PM (#25789221)
        It really bothers me to hear an adult use the term "bad guy" to refer to a real person. It seems to be a recent American trend. Bad guys are characters found in silly action films and fairy tales.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by AceM2 (655504) *

          Hence the quotation marks. I'm sorry you have issues understanding what a bad guy is. It's a person (a "guy") who is bad. Do you need me to break it down further?

          • by Kris Thalamus (555841) <`selectivepressure' `at' `gmail.com'> on Monday November 17, 2008 @03:10PM (#25789829)
            Yes, I wouldn't mind if you did break it down further. I feel that terms like good and bad are usually poor ways of summing up the motives that lead to international conflict. Using stock heros and villains is intellectually lazy enough when writing fiction. People who accept a children's story grade narrative to assess political situations scare me.
      • Re:overkill (Score:5, Funny)

        by kungfugleek (1314949) on Monday November 17, 2008 @02:54PM (#25789519)
        Next week's headline: US Military invents a grenade with a "Surrender" button. Throw the grenade, and if the enemy wants to surrender, they can simply press the button and the grenade deactivates. Maybe it opens up and dispenses little handcuffs to all of them and a gps showing them where the nearest US POW camp is. That way, they can all cuff themselves and use the GPS to find the nearest surrendering station to check themselves in. Maybe it'll come with a little PDA so they can register their favorite meals and preferred accommodations and check off special needs like "wheelchair accessible", "wake-up call", and "preferred method of torture".
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by KDR_11k (778916)

      Not necessarily, the hostiles might be some distance away from the opening you throw the thing through, just throwing a grenade tells them where you are and if you go in you'll have all rifles in the vincinity pointed at you already.

    • yah and if happens to be civilians we just play the "collateral damage" euphemism

    • by denzacar (181829) on Monday November 17, 2008 @01:53PM (#25788515) Journal

      ...sensitive equipment on site, element of surprise, recon mission...
      The list is long.

      Are you one of those guys that, when playing Counterstrike, chucks grenades inside killing all the hostages and then runs into the room spraying it with bullets, only to be knifed in the head once you run out of ammo?

    • Re:overkill (Score:5, Funny)

      by Thanshin (1188877) on Monday November 17, 2008 @02:00PM (#25788617)

      The real problem will come when the first soldier holds a grenade to his face and while everybody says "cheeeese" blows his head off.

    • but... dead men don't lie! honest!
  • I watched a show about these on "future weapons" last year. they have been in production for over 3 years now.

    Load up the camera round, fire, your buddy get's to look at the screen as it floats down to earth.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by WuphonsReach (684551)
      I watched a show about these on "future weapons" last year. they have been in production for over 3 years now.

      I think it was even used on CSI:NY within the past few years as well. A tactical assault team tossed one into an apartment prior to entry.
  • by jfengel (409917) on Monday November 17, 2008 @01:31PM (#25788117) Homepage Journal

    From TFA:

    âoeWe have overcome some significant technological challenges in developing the I-Ball technology,â said Paul Thompson of Dreampact. âoeAlthough it is in its early stages, we are very excited about the technology's potential to help our troops to be better prepared for battle.â

    In other words, "We had an idea, and we've got no idea how to actually implement it, but if the MoD gives us a bunch of money we'll happily spend it."

    Maybe the UK MoD is better than the US DoD about not funding projects just because some legislator is owed a favor, but I wouldn't bet on it.

  • It would be interesting to see what this thing looks like. It must be pretty rugged in order to survive the landing.
  • by AceM2 (655504) * on Monday November 17, 2008 @01:35PM (#25788169) Journal

    If the "bad guys" didn't already hear you coming in, they really know when that ball comes flying in the room! Seriously, it's going to take a minute to analyze the feed and on the ground we don't have that time luxury. While there might be a few isolated cases where it could be useful, I'm not sure what they are.

    • Well since it can be loaded in a tank I would say it would be awesome for short distance aerial recon. it's always nice to know where you have to aim to hit some guys on the other side of the wall.
      • by AceM2 (655504) *

        Sure... If you don't have UAV feed, live feed from a manned plane/rotary, satellite imagery, or something of that nature. Then of course the very nature of a tank, mortar, or artillery round makes for one of those times when "close is good enough". Your idea is at least more plausible though. I still would not want to be a soldier sitting outside a courtyard shooting that thing in though.

        • From what I can understand you could probably shoot it from the tank not sure of the logistics but it seems it might go a little too fast out of a tank barrel though.
          • by AceM2 (655504) *

            As far as deploying it... I haven't spent a lot of time around tanks, but I know some could have smoke grenade launchers and there are various well used weapons platforms out there which I'm sure this thing could be made to work with. Generally though I'd rather see money going towards improving unmanned vehicles and whatnot. UAV feed is a great thing.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by capt.Hij (318203)
      I was assuming that infantry soldiers would use it after they shot up a building. It would be nice to see what damage you inflicted before going in. By that time the folks inside probably have a good idea that they have visitors. The article itself seemed jsut as focused on armor which you generally do not use to sneak up on anybody.
      • by AceM2 (655504) *

        I can see more usefulness in using it after like you say. My only problem with that is with what you do with the information. If you use it to get a "repeat", great. If you're using it to decide you need to clear the building, not so great. I'm just basing my view on how it's being marketed and how I feel the powers that be will use it.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Monday November 17, 2008 @01:37PM (#25788223) Homepage

    I sure hope these things are less than $100... hell, less than $10 for that matter. I sure as hell don't think we need to waste that kind of money on stuff the enemy might take home as a souvenir.

    "Why can't we all just get along?!" I'd rather see research and development dollars spent making war and conflict obsolete.

    At the moment, most of the conflict where it is "the world" vs. the U.S.A., seems to be stemming from ridiculous policies that no one can fully explain. Why do we care about the "spread of communism"? Why do we care about "defending Israel"? There are a lot of humanitarian causes far more dire and we leave those tragedies alone with a clear conscience. Can someone tell me why we spend SO much money and so many human lives on "expanding democracy" and "defending Israel"?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by schnikies79 (788746)

      War and conflict will become obsolete when humans become obsolete.

    • That's like asking why do people get in bar brawls. Generally the most common answer is some form of ignorance or self righteousness. Think of the people most likely to get in a brawl. Now, Compare this with the people most likely to start a war. Then compare their intelligence and general social awareness.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by LWATCDR (28044)

      The answer is simple but unpleasant. You try and stop the biggest threats to you. Iraq wasn't using the money it got from oil to make a better life for it's people. It was using it to get nukes and chemical weapons. Yes they really where before the first war. We found lots of nice and nasty stuff then.
      Oil = money and money = weapons. The big lesson that most of the western world got from WWII was it is better to fight a little war then a big one.
      That is why Nato went into Serbia with the US's help and th

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I'd rather see research and development dollars spent making war and conflict obsolete.

      Seeing an end to war is less likely than seeing an end to sex.

    • Why can't we all just get along?

      This idea isn't new [wikipedia.org]. It has been tried before [wikipedia.org], but didn't work as expected [wikipedia.org].

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by legirons (809082)

      I sure hope these things are less than $100... hell, less than $10 for that matter. I sure as hell don't think we need to waste that kind of money on stuff the enemy might take home as a souvenir.

      From the army which are spending $25,000 per shot on their grenades [wikipedia.org]? Dream on.

  • by iamapizza (1312801) on Monday November 17, 2008 @01:38PM (#25788229)
    What, nobody uses Google Earth anymore?
  • by isBandGeek() (1369017) on Monday November 17, 2008 @01:41PM (#25788295)
    Does it run Linux?
  • by petes_PoV (912422) on Monday November 17, 2008 @01:41PM (#25788297)
    If I was developing a hardened, spherical wireless camera, I'd have many more uses for it than killing people. The entertainment possibilities alone are immense. Hopefully we'll see this deployed on the field of play before the battlefield.
  • one-eyed san francisco artist looking for the tech that will allow her to put a webcam in her eye socket:

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/us_world/2008/11/15/2008-11-15_san_francisco_artist_looks_to_replace_lo.html [nydailynews.com]

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by arthurpaliden (939626)
      I have been toying with the idea for a while. Not so much to have it wired into my brain but just connected via "bluetooth" or simillar method to a pocket recorder. Control would be by blinking. This would be the ultimate stealth camera. Battery life would probably suck though.
  • It's nice, but I'll wait till they come with lasers.

  • Some old North Korean told me that in Soviet Russia, cameras grenade-launch YOU.

    Mod "2005 called they want their memes back."

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Monday November 17, 2008 @01:51PM (#25788463)

    The US government already has flying drones with millimeter radar capable of seeing inside a hardened bunker -- as in, it can see bodies and outlines some several feet through concrete and steel. Why not just use those? If you're close enough to throw a grenade toward the target, they're likely close enough to blow you away too, and if I'm taking a bullet in the butt risk, wouldn't it make sense to throw something that could kill them before they kill me?

    "Holy Allah, they're throwing webcams at us! We must flee!"

    Puh-leze.

    • You can launch one of these grenades in a matter of moments. A flying drone might be 300mi away and sitting on a runway.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by oodaloop (1229816)
      Uh, because UAVs are hideously expensive maybe? And because we don't have enough to support every squad in theater simultaneously? This would be much cheaper and easier to deploy than multi-million dollar UAVs that require extensive logistics to maintain.
    • by Chyeld (713439)

      Perhaps because you aren't going to have a UAV watching over your shoulder every day you go out on patrol.

      Perhaps because when you get into a situation where you are having to clean out a building manually and don't have time for some one to get a UAV out there, you'd like to know if the next room is full of non-coms or actual hostiles before you start wasting ammo and native goodwill by filling it full of death.

      "Hey! We are in Iraq, every motherfucking towel wearing asshole must be out to kill us here, sho

    • by MobyDisk (75490)

      Because a Predator costs $15 million and requires a trained pilot to launch it and fly it. A webcam costs $30 and requires an IQ of 12 to operate. My guess is this device will be somewhere in between.

  • Have they finally developed real-life Zeroids?
  • by PPH (736903) on Monday November 17, 2008 @02:07PM (#25788737)

    I see televised golf tournaments becoming much more interesting.

  • I want a bunch of disposable ones, that I can shoot ahead from my car, when approaching a hill or a curve on the road. Instead of live video, though, it would alert me of a speed-trap ahead... If they could make these to cost, say, $5 a pop, the cost of a road-trip from Boston to New York can really come down in cost...

    • by Em Ellel (523581)

      I want a bunch of disposable ones, that I can shoot ahead from my car, when approaching a hill or a curve on the road. Instead of live video, though, it would alert me of a speed-trap ahead... If they could make these to cost, say, $5 a pop, the cost of a road-trip from Boston to New York can really come down in cost...

      Thats a lot of corners fom Boston to NYC - at $5 a pop that'll be pricey. I think better tool would be a GPS-RadarDetector-3G Data combo device (can use BT cell phone for data feed) that can detect radars and pass information to central db and thus to all local users.

      -Em

  • In his book "All fun and games until somebody loses an eye" [brookmyre.co.uk] he has exactly this piece and its embedded in a gel to make it stick to surfaces.

    Top author, but I doubt he is getting royalties for this.

  • by trb (8509)
    From tfa: ... the new technology developed by Dreampact could be a life-saving tool for soldiers.

    A life-saving tool, like an ambulance? To the extent that this will be a life-saving tool for some soldiers, it will be a life-ending tool for other soldiers.

  • by Ihlosi (895663) on Monday November 17, 2008 @03:28PM (#25790129)
    Thief 2 - The Metal Age, I think.

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