Photos: Gung-ho gadgets for U.S. troops
The Tacmav, or tactical mini air vehicle, is one of a number of devices being developed by the U.S. Army's Rapid Equipping Force. The unit purchased the model plane commercially and modified its software. Its mission: to carry a camera to let soldiers in the field check over the next ridge or around the corner.
A camera-carrying device already deployed to battle sites is the Marcbot, or multifunction agile remote-controlled robot, a wheeled robot with a video camera. It is intended to look for improvised explosive devices, or IEDs.
A soldier puts the Throwbot through its paces at a Pentagon press briefing on Aug. 12, 2005. The remote-controlled gadget, about the size of a soda can, is equipped with camera lenses and can be thrown into a building to survey the interior before soldiers enter.
This isn't a gold-plated weapon. Rather, it's an $850 off-the-shelf magnetometer that troops are using to find weapons hidden in walls and under the ground. The civilian version of this metal detector is used to find buried power lines.
Speech Guard handheld
Col. Gregory Tubbs, director of the Rapid Equipping Force, talks up a "Speech Guard" handheld. Soldiers speak preset phrases into the device, which then translates the phrases into Arabic.
An officer at work in the REF's workshop at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan last year.
Also on display from the Rapid Equipping Force: the FN303, a nonlethal, high-powered paintball gun.