back to article 'Dragon's Egg' hurlable weeble-cams for US digi-troopers

US forces have become the latest to adopt a throwable camera system, intended to let combat troops see inside rooms, around corners and so on without exposing themselves to danger. Israeli forces have also used such equipment: the UK's MoD, by contrast, has chosen to fund British firms to develop a homegrown alternative. The …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    Zapp Brannigan anyone??

    When you look at the stats I just picture the US forces with Zapp Brannigan in charge. Whatever the obsticale they are prepared to throw wave after wave of men at it.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    U.O.R

    Get it now, not sometime after our troops have been pulled from Afganistan due to unsustainable losses...

  3. Graham Bartlett
    Grenade

    So...

    How long did it take someone to figure out putting a camera on a Weeble, then?

  4. Yorkshirepudding
    Pint

    @ AC 11:13

    "Many of you will be dying for your planet. A few of you will be forced through a fine mesh screen for your planet, they will be the luckiest of them all"

  5. Martin Lyne
    Boffin

    What

    What can't be made from off the shelf components?

    Encryption and trnsmission are the only reallyout-of-ordinary factors that I can see. Durability possibly.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Title

    "It's also hoped that they could reduce accidental killing of civilians. Israeli forces have already deployed a similar gadget during last year's heavy fighting in the Gaza Strip"

    Going by the testimonials of both soldiers and civillians and reports from the likes of Human Rights Watch , it's hardly an endorsment.

    Then again, they did say accidental killings.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    R&D costs...

    Don't get it. Surely if they want to make substantial savings then it would be just worthwhile not incurring the costs for research, development and testing which would overrun the project in cost and time.

    If they ordered the existing, already development system they could get it out to the existing troops that are on the ground now who could use such systems now...

  8. james 68
    Black Helicopters

    oops

    just to point out that the soldiers who used these in tests hated them, the majority of tests ended quickly when the 'egg' was thrown into a room either via door or window only to come to rest under furniture (sofas, wardrobes, etc) making them not only useless but dangerous, as any element of surprise had then been lost.

    guess ill just have to go wait for the black helicopters now... wont be long before 'they' come to get me for revealing an embarrasing military 'secret'.

  9. Geoff Bin In
    Pint

    Numbers

    I have no military background and no knowledge how big a platoon is, or any of the other group names which are mentioned for comparison. Some actual numbers would be useful.

  10. James Hughes 1

    @Martin Lyne

    Everything in that thing could be made with cheap off the shelf components, and much smaller than a cricket ball. Use 4 phone cameras ($8 each), a couple of cheap encoder chips and a Wifi chip, battery, total cost, < $100. And that would be HD.

    Or in military terms, $4000 each, plus support.

  11. Christoph
    Joke

    Making a brit version

    Which is more important, buying an existing version cheap and saving the lives of the troops, or handing more money out to chums in the defence industries?

    Alternatively of course they might have thought about the chances of getting Brits to accurately throw something "about the size of a cricket ball".

  12. Steve Roper

    I-Ball

    Ah, yes, I remember that game on the Commodore 64 back in the 80s... it was quite difficult as I recall. But it did feature one of Rob Hubbard's coolest soundtracks!

  13. Nigee
    Alert

    But

    Judging by the pics the buildings in Afghanstan where problems lurk are a bit short of windows. Furthermore, unlike some other armies, Brit tactics tend to prefer speed and surprise with good training. Tossing balls all over the place too see what's there is a slow and methodical approach and is not guaranteed to get better results or lower casualties. A few years ago a Brit platoon fresh back from Iraq did a house clearing demo for the German Army officers' school, fast and hard, the Germans were amazed because they do slow and methodical.

    On digital soldiers, UK has run several trials but hasn't yet found the combination of gear that might do to get the show on the road. Recently quoted interviews with US, German & UK officers concluded that US and German soldiers would take anything they were ordered to use not matter, Brit soldiers want to be able to individualise everything and would not use stuff that didn't work well and wasn't convenient to use or wear and useful to them.

  14. Jason Tan

    US Cav table of org

    I thought US Cav squadrons had troops too. The US cav troop being the same size (i.e. company sized) as a UK/commonwealth squadron.

    Bueller?

  15. The Beer Monster
    Happy

    If they're the size of cricket balls...

    Why isn't anyone working on one that *looks* like a cricket ball and can be hit with a cricket bat?

    This could help the resurgence of English cricket... ;)

  16. b 3

    gawd bless our boys!

    out there i the thick of it..

    stay safe lads, keep ya heads down and yer chins up!

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