The grenade is probably one of the most oddly iconic weapons in human history. We make everything from mugs to Airsoft toys out of them. But the grenade is constantly being improved, and has more new ideas applied to the form factor. Like, for example, the SPARCS Camera Grenade.
For all the justified love drones get as reconaissance tools, there are a few problems with them. They’re delicate, they’re expensive, you need to study to control them, and they’re pretty easy to pick out, and thus pick off, from a distance. Similarly, they require a lot of infrastructure that an already loaded-down soldier may not be able to stuff into his pack. SPARCS solves all of these problems, by using a grenade launcher.
The Soldier Parachute Aerial Reconnaissance Camera System is fairly simple: Load the grenade, aim carefully, and fire. Once deployed, it unfolds a parachute and a camera begins offering video of what it sees. It’s a CMOS imaging system and it broadcasts pointing straight down, giving you an overview of the battlefield. It’s even compatible with multiple operating systems and designs. It’s also got the advantage of being a lot cheaper than your typical quadrotor flying robot, which will likely help for military budgets and the like.
Lifting The Fog Of War
And, of course, it will help soldiers on the battlefield. As any military strategist can tell you, a lack of knowledge about the battlefield can be fatal for even the best soldier, and SPARCS appears to be a cost-effective way not just to gather battlefield intelligence, but also to save a few lives in the process. Also, come on, who doesn’t want to pack a camera into a tube and fire it across the sky with a grenade launcher? That’s just an awesome thing to add to any job description.
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.