TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — It’s like a supermarket for Navy SEALs. A grocery store for Green Berets. A Costco for commandoes.
It’s a conference for military special operations forces and their gadgets, weapons and tools. The Special Operations Forces Industry Conference is held yearly in Tampa. Here, the U.S. Special Operations Command — the Tampa-based unit that oversees all of the nation’s elite military teams — shops for equipment.
Lantern-jawed Marines in camo mingle with computer geeks in chinos who run complex intel programs on the convention floor. Panels such as “Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit Sessions” are popular, and alphabet soup acronyms are common in casual conversation (“Are you going to the USSOCOM J-Code Directors Panel?”).
Outside the convention center, maritime displays of sleek boats with mounted weapons cruise by, and underwater drones surface.
Prototypes of new gadgets and gear are showcased. Robots, holograms, tanks, lethal weapons — it’s all on display.
Here are some of the interesting gadgets that were on the trade show floor during the weeklong event, which wraps up Friday.
UNDER THE SEA
Deep Trekker is a Canadian company that sells underwater drones. The small grey cylinders with cameras can be remote-controlled on land or in the water, and Sam MacDonald, president, says the device can dive down 150 meters — it’s great for hull inspection or contraband, checking out port security.
“We’ve also had it used in the Special Forces, for things they can’t really tell us a lot about,” she said.
NOT YOUR HOUSEHOLD ROBOT
Joseph Smith of Massachusetts-based Endeavor Robotics smiled patiently when a reporter asked whether his company’s robots were in any way like the ubiquitous Roomba vacuums. At more than $100,000 each, the 510 Packbot overcomes stairs, obstacles and debris. It can reach speeds of 5.8 MPH (9.3 KM/H); perform bomb disposal, surveillance and reconnaissance; and detect hazardous materials.
Smith, a Marine, looked around the trade show floor. “I would say that this room is probably filled with the world’s best in class warriors, yes.”
A SIMPLER RIFLE
Gabriele de Plano of gunmaker Beretta showed off a new rifle — a soldier doesn’t have to carry around a ton of batteries for the rifle’s components.
“Overall, we’re simplifying the system; we’re adding capabilities with what the soldier can do with his assault rifle,” de Plano said. The rifle’s components run on six AA batteries
Jeffry Pietersz of the Netherlands-based TAGS-Systems not only sells things that will help soldiers rappel up and down buildings but is also a little like Spiderman himself.
“When a special forces team wants to enter a ship, they use one of our compact launchers to shoot a grapnel and hook onto a ship with a rope attached,” Pieterz explained, tugging on a device and a rope attached high into the convention center rafters. “And if they want to climb the ship, they can use one of our power ascenders to assault it. This is a battery-powered ascender — it has an exchangeable battery, and it has a lifting capacity of 150 kilograms. Optimized for a fully equipped operator. It will hoist yourself up 60 meters per minute.”
With that, he zipped into the air.
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
- 7 common ways to get sued by your employees
- Why it might be time to upgrade your toilet
- Arizona teachers are building a better future by using technology in the classroom
- How to make summer reading fun for the whole family
- How to find relief for chronic joint pain
- Can the NBA Lottery save the Suns?
- Skip Urgent Care: 5 ailments you can treat with telemedicine
- Skin Cancer in Arizona: Stats, facts and new immunotherapy drugs making strides
- Distracted walking injuries end up not so funny
- Scary situations: 5 quick tips before you let a contractor in your home
- Four ways telemedicine is changing the health care industry
- 5 mistakes homeowners make in the spring
- Three rivers run through it: Exploring Arizona's waterways
- Smart home basics: things you need to know to get started
- 5 Surprising things causing back pain
- Arizona agriculture is a $17.1B industry
- Timeline: Arizona's roots in brewing history
- 5 reasons to love the D-backs this season
- Tips for taking your home entertainment experience to the backyard
- Tech-related injuries your parents never experienced
- Workers comp: Signs your co-worker could be a fraud
- Who's the real founder of America's pastime?
- Epidemic rising? What you need to know about Alzheimer's in Arizona
- 5 unforgettable Wooden Award winners
- Family and hard work are keys to success of modern dairy farmers
- Genetic testing could hold answers for colon cancer survival
- Cold beers and baseball: A beer lover's guide to Spring Training
- Telecommuting: 5 tips to make it work for employers and employees
- See how top CFOs feel about economic growth in the Valley
- Migraine myths that keep patients from effective treatments
- Main Street Minute: Phoenix job fair will feature Army, bank representatives
- Border agents in Arizona drop from copter, snag suspects, 430 pounds of pot
- Teachers’ union leader surprised by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey veto of bill
- Main Street Minute: Phoenix cracks top 10 for best US spots for meetings
- Main Street Minute: Fried chicken chain expanding in Valley