Sunday, February 22, 2009


by Evan Ratliff

It would seem that the future of warfare is partially in the hands of a man from Tennessee named Jerry Baber. He has perfected the design of an automatic shotgun - one that has absolutely no recoil - which is ideal for mounting on light unmanned ground vehicles, or military robots.

The designs, for both ground robots and airborne helicopters, are described as sound and practical, and so it is interesting that the US military has not begun to make use of them. What this article reveals is the distrust of military men for anything that has not been produced in-house, even when it is something useful and potentially (American) life-saving.

Reading the article reminded me of the scene in Shooting War, wherein robots just like the one in Tomer Hanuka's accompanying illustration are used to execute a group of civilians in a hospital. Perhaps it is this fear of diminished accountability that is keeping this product out of production - one would have to assume that there would be a 'Grand Theft Auto Effect' for operators commanding the devices from a safe distance.

Regardless, Baber is unconcerned with how long it will take before the military starts to make use of his projects - he is convinced that it will happen one day. The profile drawn of him in this article is a fascinating one.

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