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Archive for the ‘Disruptive Tech’ Category

Local Motors – US Army CoCreate Make-a-Thon Vehicle Build Update

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

In this video, Giovani from Local Motors gave an update on the company’s enhancements to the Kawasaki Teryx 750cc for the purpose of the Army CoCreate Make-a-Thon. CoCreate is a Rapid Equipping Force-sponsored crowd sourcing effort that nominates operational challenges and works to fulfill those shortfalls with a material solution.

The goal of the Make-a-Thon was to develop a Mobile Command Post that supports dismounted soldier operations. Two Make-a-Thons were held for the MCP: the first, held December 9th-13th of last year, was for design concepts and first iteration prototyping. The second, which took place January 13th-16th, was held to further refine the community-developed design of the MCP.

Army CoCreate is an online community developed by Local Motors and the Army Rapid Equipping Force (REF).

BTW, nice shirt Giovanni.

Metal Sintering – Making 3D Printed Guns A Reality

Friday, November 8th, 2013

Recoil magazine offers a great follow up to our recent story “3D Printing? Is The Genie Out Of The Bottle?“.

Meanwhile, from a laser sintering 3D printer in Texas…

Solid Concepts has manufactured what they are referring to as the “world’s first 3D Printed Metal Gun.” The weak point with previous 3D printed pistols has been the parts such as the barrel that are traditionally made of metal. But with the laser sintering process these can be fabricated from metal. With this model, the grip is an SLS (Selective Laser Sintered) carbon-fiber filled nylon hand grip.

Read more:


There’s a whole new crowd over at Recoil and they are doing a great job. Check out their story at

3D Printing? Is The Genie Out Of The Bottle?

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

There was a time, just a few months ago, where the main stream media was almost hysterical over the possible threat posed by these home made firearms that can be more difficult to detect due to their polymer construction. Patterns for 3D printed firearms continue to roll out at a regular pace. For example, plans for the 9×19mm Parabellum Howard Pistol (after ex Australian PM, John Howard) by RollaTroll were recently released on the 3D CAD file sharing site, DEFCAD.

The Howard

But as 3D printing becomes more and more mainstream, will it be “too late” for lawmaking bodies to control this intellectual frontier? Just this past summer, designers created a 3D printed house in Amsterdam.

3D house

Internet ethicists continue to ponder whether 3D printers will become so commonplace that the genie can’t be stuffed back in the bottle or, whether the roll out will be throttled as means are developed to control the technology. And, we consider how will intellectual property laws affect their deployment into the marketplace? In the end, this may be the ultimate threat to widespread use of this phenomenon that shifts manufacturing to small workshops and eventually into the home. Although, the moral dilemma remains. Not only could printers pump out illicit goods but also counterfeit versions of patented technologies. Based on what we’ve seen regarding recorded music and film, could hardgood manufacturers be far behind as their market transforms before their eyes?

Disruptive Tech – Army CoCreate

Friday, October 18th, 2013

You’re welcomed to the Army CoCreate website with this statement:

Do you have an idea, big or small, about a Soldier challenge that needs to be solved? Post it below. Vote for ideas that interest you, the more votes an idea receives, the more likely it is to be selected as an Army CoCreate project.

Sponsored by the Rapid Equipping Force, the Maneuver Center of Excellence, Camber, Exponent and administrated by Local Motors, Army CoCreate is a collaborative website to crowds price fresh ideas for the many operational challenges that face Soldiers.


Army CoCreate uses a four-step process to narrow the field to identify the ideas that provide the best bang for the buck and are most likely to succeed: Identify Problems, Suggest Solutions, Tackle a Project, Build Prototypes. Online tutorials guide you through the process as you suggest projects which are voted on by other participants. The most promising projects are invited to participate in Make-a-thons where the designs will be 3D modeled. This is exciting stuff and invites participation at the lowest levels.

This is a great chance to make America’s Army better.

McMillan Merchant Solutions Update

Friday, August 9th, 2013

This is so significant, I’ve posted it under Disruptive Tech. We’ve been mentioning McMillan’s move to create a merchant solutions firm after their run in with Bank of America. It’s now one step closer to reality with the launch of their website and a Facebook page.


The site remains under construction but follow to stay abreast of their latest updates.

They also posted this:

Firearms Industry Merchants – Your Current Credit Card Processing is at Risk.
August 8, 2013 at 8:37pm
Some might say the title of this Post/Note is premature and alarmist in nature. We don’t think so and here’s proof. Can you buy/sell online? Click on the link after each choice below:

eBay –
Craigslist –
PayPal –
Amazon –

Do all Merchant Gateways accept transactions from within the Firearms industry…or should I say YOUR BUSINESS?

Square – –

So what do we do about it?

In April of 2012, Bank of America asked Kelly McMillan to find another bank simply because he manufactured firearms. Conversations with Firearms Industry partners and customers show this is a growing problem. The Firearms industry is under enormous pressure, with many financial vendors covertly AND OVERTLY discriminating against Firearms manufacturers and retailers. Companies are being deprived of the ability to process debit and credit card transactions, often with no notice, simply because they sell firearms, ammunition, or related products and services.

To combat this trend, Kelly McMillan formed McMillan Merchant Solutions (MMS) and our mission is to help strengthen the firearms industry while supporting those organizations that are fighting for our 2nd Amendment rights. We can now provide financial stability for those who accept credit cards as payment and also provide short-term loans to qualified customers.

Let’s be proactive before we have to be reactive! Please help support our collective cause by Like’ing this Page. For more information on our services, and how you can SAVE money while SUPPORTING our Industry, email me at or call me at our toll free number 855-431-4979.

Disruptive Tech – The 3D Printed Grizzly Rifle Goes Multi-shot

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Remember the Grizzly single shot 3D printed rifle we mentioned last month? Well the Canadian maker Matthew has been working on his design and has successfully improved it to the point that he can get 14 shots without catastrophic failure. It’s still a single shot design and there’s no such thing as an extractor but he now feels confidant enough to shoulder fire the thing rather than use a lanyard from a fixture.

The genie is out of the bottle and he’s improving his fighting position.

Work Smart Not And Hard

Monday, July 29th, 2013

As many of you know, I’m a Scouter and over the last two weeks Boy Scouts of America just wrapped up their inaugural National Jamboree at the new Bechtel Summit in West Virginia. The Jamboree is a quadrennial camp out that brings together Scouts from all over the US who are joined by limited numbers of their international counterparts for 10 days of fun, fellowship and learning. This year, Mike Rowe of “Dirty Jobs” fame gave a poignant speech. He recalls being shown this poster by his High School guidance counselor. You may have seen it as well or at least heard the sentiment behind it.

Work Smart Not Hard


The problem is that somehow this notion turned our country on its ear. This nation is carrying $1 Trillion in student loan debt and yet college graduates are unemployed or underemployed. The American dream of being college educated has driven so many away from learning trades. Maybe it’s the lure of “easy money” or maybe a horrible bait and switch but the fact remains that we don’t have enough skilled workers. Mike Rowe wants to change that and has come up with this concept.

Work Smart Not And Hard


True, we need college graduates, particularly so-called STEM disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. But, just as importantly, we need to recognize that there is nothing wrong with being a mechanic, plumber or welder. When I grew up I wanted to be Soldier and I didn’t earn my degree until I needed it. And that was to become an officer. So, in my experience, there is something to be said for Rowe’s position.

To see his entire speech, watch this video. It’s a speech I’m glad my son got a chance to hear.

To learn more about Mike Rowe’s undertaking to close the skills gap, visit and read about Profoundly Disconnected.

Disruptive Tech – Test Firing a Full 3D Printed Gun

Friday, July 26th, 2013

Now that the lame stream media has moved on from trying to scare the hell out of Joe the Plumber and his neighbors with wild tales of streets run red with the blood of innocents caused by 3D printed guns in the hands of wild eyed Libertarians bent on mayhem, we can once again begin to take a realistic look at the technology.

These guys manufactured a complete rifle on a 3D printer. They call it the Grizzly, named after Canadian models of the Sherman tank from World War Twice. It’s a .22LR contraption based on the Defense Distributed Liberator design, and like that model, uses a roofing nail as a firing pin. The Winchester Dynapoint round split both the barrel and receiver for about 2″ but I’d say this has a lot more to do with the materials than the construction.

Of course, I have to add a caveat. I always take pause with anything accomplished by a guy who wears a ring on his point finger. There’s something sketch going on there, one way or another. But in the end, it’s outliers like these guys who will drag us all kicking and screaming into a micro manufacturing society.

Liberty Week – Privacy

Monday, July 1st, 2013

Yesterday I said that I wanted to take this 4th of July week to address the concept of Liberty. I got several excellent suggestions for topics but some of them were more focused on the roots of the Independence movement. Today, we face different threats to our Liberty that are an outgrowth of how we communicate.

Some have taken on the invasive and ubiquitous governmental data collections and begun to develop new means to counter those efforts. One of these innovations is a disruptive typeface called ZXX after the Library of Congress trigraph for “No linguistic content; Not applicable.”


While I don’t agree with the sentiment (there are more appropriate ways to raise awareness of criminal acts than compromising loads of classified information) of the example in the image above, it does give a good idea of what ZXX looks like in use.

In a recent post on Walker Art Center’s Gradient Blog, Developer Sang Mun (himself a former NSA contractor) said, “I drew six different cuts (Sans, Bold, Camo, False, Noise and Xed) to generate endless permutations, each font designed to thwart machine intelligences in a different way. I offered the typeface as a free download in hopes that as many people as possible would use it.”

I’d call this a practical design project. While it can be a pain to read, it would seem to fool OCR systems. Given the scope of ZXX’s applicability, it’s worth considering whether its use is practical. But ultimately, the question is, would an early adopter flag himself through its use? Interestingly, there was a time in the not so recent past when only criminals would feel the need to conceal their communications so. Now, more and more, the average citizen is asking himself whether the Government is reading his mail.

For more info on ZXX visit

USSOCOM to Develop Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit

Friday, May 17th, 2013

On 15 May, at the start of the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference, U.S. Special Operations Command, Headquarters Procurement Division issued Solicitation Number USSOCOM_RFI_ST(TALOS), a special notice seeking industry collaboration with their Science & Technology community for the development of a Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS).

The request is pretty straightforward but the path to get to a fielded product remains murky, particularly as defense procurement budgets have been slashed. Many in industry are rather shy about sharing cutting edge technologies with government in the absence of a value exchange. However, this might make for a great dual-path strategy for companies that developed concepts for Big Army’s SPS and are looking for a return.

Before I go any further, this sounds fantastic and this is the stuff that SSD exists for, but two observations. First, this sure looks, sounds and smells like it should be a BAA. And, once again, I have to ask, why wasn’t this project begun at any point over the past 11 years of war? At any rate, here’s what SOCOM has in mind.

A. INTRODUCTION: Science and Technology (S&T) Collaboration
This Request for Information (RFI) is NOT a Broad Agency Announcement, solicitation for proposals, proposal abstracts, or quotations. The purpose of this RFI is to solicit technology demonstration candidates from Research and Development (R&D) organizations, private industry, and academia for inclusion in future experimentation events coordinated by the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). USSOCOM invites industry, academia, individuals and Government labs to submit technology demonstration nominations addressing innovative technologies leading to possible Government/Industry collaboration for development of USSOCOM technology capabilities supporting a Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS). The intent is to accelerate the delivery of innovative TALOS capabilities to the Special Operations Forces (SOF) warfighter.

After review of the technology demonstration nomination submissions, the Government may invite select candidates to demonstrate their technologies at the USSOCOM sponsored S&T demonstration event. The demonstration venue will provide an opportunity for the submitter to interact with USSOCOM personnel for the purpose of USSOCOM assessing potential impact of emerging technology solutions on USSOCOM missions and capabilities. The intent is to accelerate the delivery of innovative capabilities to the SOF warfighter. Industry participation in demonstration activities does not suggest or imply that USSOCOM will procure or purchase equipment.

1. Background: These collaborative S&T demonstrations are conducted with representatives from Government R&D organizations, Academia, and Industry. S&T demonstration events provide an opportunity for technology developers to interact with operational forces and Government development personnel to determine how their technology development efforts and ideas may support or enhance SOF capability needs. The environment facilitates a collaborative working relationship between interested parties to promote the identification and assessment of emerging and mature technologies for the primary goal of accelerating the delivery of technology discoveries to the SOF warfighter. The event facilitates USSOCOM personnel to identify potential technology solutions, impacts, limitations, and utility to meet SOF technical objectives and thrust areas. Materiel solutions brought to the event should be at a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 5 or greater. Demonstrations may be between an hour and half a day in duration and may be conducted in unimproved expeditionary-like conditions. At the discretion of USSOCOM, respondents may be asked to complete a vendor loan agreement (see attachment).

2. Demonstration Focus: Demonstrations will be conducted from 8-10 July 2013, at or near MacDill AFB, FL and will explore emerging TALOS technology solutions for the advance enhanced mobility/protection capabilities to augment the direct assaulter. The goal of these demonstrations is to identify technologies which could easily be integrated to form an initial capability within twelve months. A secondary goal is to determine the feasibility of fielding objective capabilities within three years. Any TALOS technology-based demonstration conducted at the event shall be capable of supporting a SOF unit to provide a revolutionary improvement in SOF operations. Any and all TALOS solutions must include all necessary software and hardware to accomplish the mission. Direct Assaulter enhanced mobility/protective technologies may include, but are not limited to:

a. Advanced Armor: Materials to support next generation full-body ballistic protection
b. Mobility/Agility: Enhancement platforms such as powered exoskeletons
c. Situational Awareness (SA)
d. Light/noise discipline
e. Command, Control, Communications & Computers (C4): Such as conformable & wearable antennae and wearable computers
f. Individual soldier combat ready displays: Including non-visual means of information display, and potentially utilization of cognitive thoughts and the surrounding environment to display personalized information
g. Power generation and management
h. Thermal management of suit occupant
i. Medical: Embedded monitoring, oxygen systems, wound stasis, electromechanical compensation

Proposed solutions should take into consideration “lightening the load” of the operator, mentally and/or physically.

3. Security Requirements: Vendors should not submit classified information in the technology demonstration nominations.

4. Respondents interested in conducting demonstrations using technologies like: lasers, explosives, weapons using live fire, moving equipment, vehicles, and other technologies that present an occupational hazard shall prepare and submit a safety risk assessment. The risk assessment shall address the likelihood and severity of any inherent risks as well as risk mitigation measures required to bring the resultant risk to a low level. The risk assessment shall be submitted as an attachment to the experiment nomination. Reference MIL-STD-882D for instructions and information regarding risk assessments.


Technology Demonstration nominations shall be submitted electronically via SORDAC’s BAA and RFI Submission Tool at (like I said, sounds like a BAA to me)


You’ll be responsible for your own expenses if you’re invited to participate. (I’m paraphrasing here.)


Selection of respondents to participate will be based on the extent to which the technology represents a particular class or level of capability that can be provided to SOF.
Other considerations include:
- Technical maturity
- Relevance of or adaptability to military operations/missions
- Relevance to current operational needs
- Relevance to Event Focus Area

And then, there’s a bunch of other stuff you need to read if you are going to participate.

You’ve only got a short time to get your nomination (Response Date:
May 31, 2013 4:00 pm Eastern) in so drop what you’re doing, right now, and go read the whole thing at