Video games like Halo and Gears of War have been lauded for their intense, cinematic approaches to gaming that allow players to feel like they're a soldier participating in the future of armed conflict. But what happens when the U.S. army gets inspired by the video games based on its real world history? Now we can find out thanks to a new video from a special unit of the U.S. military designed to give us a peek at the future of combat.
The video, titled "Aviation 2050 Vision—Technology for Tactics," is dramatically introduced Dr. Bill Lewis, the U.S. Army's director for aviation development at the Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (AMCOM). Seated in a gravitas-emitting wood-paneled room that would do professor Charles Xavier proud, Lewis explains that the video is a look at the future of what the military may have in store in the coming decades. Then the video takes the viewer on a first-person shooter style journey into a remarkably well-rendered adventure depicting a number of situations both realistic and fantastic.
For the purposes of this story, we'll focus on the fantastic, which includes what appear to be laser cannons (at least that's what the sound effects indicate) shooting down unmanned drones, a gun that actually shoots soccer ball-sized orbs that transform into drones in mid-air, and a wristband that allows the wearer to remote control assault airplanes.
But the video really begins to veer into science fiction territory when it shows a self-healing airplane that repairs blast damage while in flight (nanotech?). Another amazing scene includes a soldier medic who waves his glowing hand over the face of an injured soldier to scan his face into a holographic image, after which a pod-like vehicle encloses the wounded warrior and levitates up into an aircraft.
At first glance you might think the Army went a little overboard with the sci-fi stuff, but Lewis explains at the end of the video that part of the goal of the video is to inspire viewers to send in innovative next-gen ideas for future combat technology, so in that context, the video makes a bit more sense.
Also, it's pretty well established that whatever military innovations the U.S. military reveals to the public are usually 10 years behind what they have in the lab, so don't underestimate the possibility that some of the things in the video are really coming sometime down the road. You can watch the entire presentation in the video below.