15 crazy pieces of tech available only to the military (pictures)

The military has a tough job, so maybe it's only fair that they get the coolest...tech...ever.

Gina Scanlon
Gina Scanlon is a freelance writer and producer for CBS Interactive and BBC America. She has a film degree from UCF, and a masters in scriptwriting from The University of London. She just recently moved to Encino from NYC, and finally made it a point to watch Encino Man.
Gina Scanlon
1 of 15 YouTube/Reuters

Hoverbikes and smart guns

Some of the sweetest, craziest tech in development (and in action) is reserved only for military use.

The Tactical Reconnaissance Vehicle, originally designed in the UK, is now being developed by the US Defense Department. The hoverbikes are considered to be a potential alternative to helicopters; they're able to get out of small, narrow places very quickly.

And you thought they only existed in "Star Wars."

2 of 15 YouTube/Defense Update

Four-legged galloping bot

This robot, designed by Boston Dynamics and funded by the US military, can run up to 16 mph on flat surfaces. The galloping machine, called WildCat, eerily resembles an animal on the loose.

3 of 15 Lockheed Martin

Transformer TX/ARES

We may not be able to enjoy flying or Transformer-like cars just yet, but the US military is working on it. These vehicles can fly like a helicopter, then transform back into a military ground vehicle. They can also fly or drive without a human behind the wheel, and drop soldiers and vehicles into war zones.

 Work on Phase III of ARES began in January 2014. Lockheed is to develop the flight control software, and Piasecki will build the flight module and systems.

4 of 15 Business Wire/Getty Images

Sarcos Exoskeleton

DARPA and developer Sarcos have been working on extra-powerful suits that can turn a modern-day soldier into a superhero. The Sarcos Exoskeleton gives the solider additional strength and speed capability. This technology also can be used in cases of physical impairment.

5 of 15 Stephen Lam/Getty Images

Google Glass...Navy-style

The Office of Naval Research has created a specialized version of a wearable computer-generated system, much like Google Glass. The tech is designed to superimpose information onto a sailor’s view of the real world. Unlike the civilian model, it's designed to last much longer and is intended for military training purposes only...for now.

6 of 15 Universal Display Corporation

Wrist-mounted computer

These babies have curved displays that give soldiers strategic information, live UAV video streams and battlefield maps in style. The front panel, built by Universal Display, uses phosphorescent-OLED technology, which consumes much less battery power. The device was recently showcased at the US Army’s C4ISR On-The-Move testing environment and received positive feedback.

7 of 15 YouTube/EuroSon99

Armatix Digital Revolver

Unlike the Navy version of the Google Glass, which is still in the testing stage, this small digital gun is already in use in the field. It has an electronic safety that can be disabled via a wristwatch, requiring fingerprint authorization from its owner to re-activate. After registering the signal, the gun unlocks and flashes green.

8 of 15 YouTube /Wired News

DARPA's Bionic Arm

The US Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has designed the most advanced robotic arm yet. Not only can it do everything a human arm can do, it also has the ability to read nerve signals, and over the course of time, build its way up to playing the piano.

9 of 15 Marco Garcia/Getty Images

Autonomous Underwater Submarine

Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV's) were designed by the US Navy to protect military vessels from enemy mines. Already in action, they act as a self-reliant robot. AUVs come in many different forms; check out this Spy Fish Drone.

10 of 15 US Military

M32 multiple grenade launcher

This semi-automatic monster weapon is capable of firing six 40mm grenades in less than six seconds, at an overall rate of 18 per minute. It's also quite tech-savvy, with the capability of shooting something called HuntIr rounds, which float to the ground via parachute and capture aerial video footage, as well as Hellhound rounds, which are projectiles that can be fired from 140 yards.

11 of 15 Eye Ubiquitous/Getty Images

Stealth fighter fet

The US Airforce has conquered invisibility. Seriously. The planes are not only hidden to the human eye, but also to radar systems.

12 of 15 Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Micro air vehicles

Micro bug-like drones come in various forms. These little helpers can relay important intel back to soldiers before they enter buildings, or danger zones. Very difficult to detect, MAVs also have been used to search for survivors in accidents or collapsed buildings.

13 of 15 Business Wire / Getty Images

Corner shot

This 40mm grenade launcher comes equipped with a nozzle-mounted video camera, which can relay video footage back to other soldiers who can analyze the battleground and face enemies in a more calculated way.

14 of 15 Silynx

Silynx headset

This headset creates a low profile while providing both noise cancellation and excellent sound capability. It's great for covert operations; the headset is inaudible at distances greater than 20 inches and can operate fully for up to 20 meters.

15 of 15 Corbis

M110 sniper rifle

The complete weapons system for this M110 sniper rifle is not available to the public, and is specifically used for warfare. The gas-operated sharp shooter has a 4-1 hit ratio, a sound suppressor and night vision.

Correction: This slide originally showed a different rifle. The picture has been updated to show the M110 rifle.

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