Next Generation Police Gadgets You Won't Believe
Much more than mere handcuffs, here are some next generation police gadgets you won't believe!Technology
We might not have reached the days of laser guns and freeze rays just yet, but police and military technology has become pretty amazing even so. In fact, some of the gadgets they use aren’t just futuristic, they’re downright unbelievable!
From a car with a built-in web shooter to an automated robot surveillance snake, let’s take a look at some of the most advanced next-generation police gadgets that you won’t believe exist.
If you’re trying to catch a criminal off guard, loudly breaking down their door probably isn’t your best bet. Naturally, it’s pretty much impossible to blow something up without making an absolute racket.
That’s why SWAT teams and members of the police force have started using a sneaky little gadget called the Holmatro Door Blaster. This clever device can quietly breach through doors without needing any explosives and it works in seconds.
First, the magical machinery is pressed up against the door in question. Then, because the whole thing is remote operated, the operator can step back before hitting a button on the controller.
As soon as they do, compressed air is released from the device, activating a system of hydraulics inside the blaster. This generates a tremendous amount of force but will break open the door without any loud explosions.
In the movies, everyone loves a good car chase. But while they make a great cinematic spectacle, they’re pretty darn dangerous in real life! Which is where the “grappler police bumper” comes in.
The ingenious device works by deploying a nylon net from the front bumper of a police vehicle. If the police are in pursuit and close enough to the back of the car they’re chasing, the net will wrap itself around the suspect’s rear tire, stopping it in its tracks:
The grappler was invented by a man called Leonard Stock, who magicked up the idea after watching a police pursuit show. An innocent motorcyclist had been hit during a chase, and Leonard went to bed that night unsettled over the injustice. He sat awake thinking about solutions to the problem, and by 3am that night the idea was fully formed!
Most immobilization devices the police use, such as spike strips, all rely on being able to get in front of the runaway vehicle. Which is pretty tough and very dangerous when car chases are usually so fast.
The grappler however allows police to stop the vehicle from behind, and creates enough space between both vehicles to prevent any tragic crashes. And now it’s been used to great success, including in Arizona, where Leonard comes from! it may look like it’s been plucked from your favorite comic book, but it’s a real-life criminal’s worst nightmare!
Sadly, Iron Man isn’t real. But the technology of his suit really exists. Or at least, almost; it's the Onyx Exo Skeleton, AKA the police and military uniform of the future! It won’t make you fly, but this wearable high-tech ‘outer skeleton’ will turn you into a superhuman beast.
That’s because it provides major support to the user’s knees and lower-body muscles, meaning you won’t get tired anywhere near as quickly, and any physical task is made much easier and safer too.
Imagine having to jump over a tall fence while chasing a speedy suspect, or carrying heavy supplies up a mountain. Sounds exhausting, unless you have this bad boy on! But how does it actually work? The pseudo-super-suit has special sensors at the feet, knees, and hips which collect data from the user’s movements and send it to a control module on the waist.
Using this info, artificial intelligence can predict the user’s next movements and react accordingly. So, if the AI detects that you’re about to raise your knee, it activates motors in that area which move the exoskeleton to automatically assist you.
And the technology has piqued the interest of military organizations all over the globe. In July 2020, the U.S. Marines started using a different kind of exoskeleton, the SARCOS Guardian XO, to help them lift and transport weighty loads. After seeing the commercial below though, it feels like it’s being advertised as an actual super suit.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought virtually the whole globe to a standstill and police in China had a wild trick up their sleeves, or rather, on their heads to help prevent the virus from spreading. They were equipped with high-tech helmets capable of reading the body temperatures of anybody up to 16 feet away!
Made by a manufacturer in Shenzhen, the helmet was originally designed for facial and numberplate recognition. Yet, its most useful feature ended up being its temperature gauge. Using an infrared camera in combination with augmented reality software, it gives the wearer an audible and visual signal when someone within range has an unusually high temperature.
And it can scan huge crowds at the rapid rate of up to 200 people a minute! So, it's pretty useful in a pandemic! When technology is this snazzy though, it always comes with a pretty hefty price tag. These helmets cost a whopping $6,680 each, meaning you might want to think twice before promising your COVID-conscious grandmother one for Christmas.
Robots can be really creepy if The Terminator is anything to go by. So many people became suspicious when a four-legged canine robot was being trialed by the New York Police Department.
Nicknamed the “Digidog”, the electrically powered dog-bot, was created by American robotics company Boston Dynamics. It can be controlled remotely, and has cameras, lights, and microphones built into its body, so police can scope out a potentially dangerous place without putting themselves at risk.
Back in 2020, the NYPD used the dog to assist them with a couple of precarious scenarios, including a hostage situation! But after footage of the robot hit the internet, it went viral and got a ton of backlash. Instead of being reassured by the automated dog, people found it terrifying, and were concerned it could be abused and used as an aggressive surveillance tool.
As well as being a privacy concern, if the Digidogs were ever weaponized, the consequences could be dire for everyone. Also, what if it got in the wrong hands? So, the NYPD abruptly stopped using the dogs. However, it's been announced in 2023 that they're bringing the robotic dogs back, 2 years after the public commotion.
Bulletproof Origami Shield
If you had to list the coolest gadgets on the planet, you probably wouldn’t jump straight to shields. They might seem pretty basic but there’s a new shield in town, and it’s nothing short of amazing! The Swift Shield is a bulletproof guard designed to resolve all of the shortfalls of a traditional shield.
It’s lightweight, compact, and easily transportable, all down to an innovative foldable origami design known as the Yoshimura crease pattern. This allows the shield to fold down small enough to pop straight into the trunk of a police car, where it can be whipped out at a moment’s notice.
But it’s not just super-convenient, this thing packs some serious strength! Made of not one, not two, but 12 layers of protective Kevlar, the shield can withstand bullets fired at close range and won’t even topple over!
Kevlar is the same material used for bulletproof vests. As well as being flexible, its tightly woven fibers have a very closely bound molecular structure. The insane strength of these molecular bonds means it’s extremely hard to pierce the material, because you’d need a huge amount of energy to break the bonds apart.
In fact, it’s five times stronger than steel! The shield is still in its prototype phase for now, but when it’s on the market, I’m sure it’ll be a purchase the whole police force can get behind.
Step aside Paul Blart, there’s a new Mall Cop in town. Only, this one’s significantly less human. Meet NIMBO, the world’s first A.I. powered security robot! This little fella will patrol a building scanning for potential threats and security breaches all by itself.
It just needs somebody to program its route! Once programmed, the bot follows a set path, and using the combination of its clever onboard A.I., cameras, sensors, and microphones, it’ll detect any potential criminal activity it comes across. Once it does, it’ll approach and blast out audio warnings to try and scare any bad guys off.
What’s more, it streams footage of the whole encounter to the owner’s smartphone!
Although the police aren’t using it just yet, it’s not hard to see how incredibly useful this would be for them. NIMBO can even be connected to drones, so the whole automated security system works from land and air! But the best feature has to be the robot’s ‘ride-on-mode’. You can clamber onto it like a segway and ride around like Blart himself!
Smart Slide Pistol
Turns out, Marvel films aren’t the only thing that inventors are taking inspiration from. If you’ve ever played Halo, then the Radatec Smart Slide might look familiar. It turns an ordinary handheld firearm into something straight out of science fiction.
A pistol is made out of several components. One of these is the “slide” at the top, which slides back across the gun when it’s fired. This reduces recoil and loads the next bullet. The Radatec Smart Slide replaces this with a mega high-tech version, equipped with a futuristic LED screen.
Like something out of a videogame, the user can see how many rounds are left in the chamber and whether or not the magazine has been inserted. It’s all possible due to a special sensor that registers the number of cartridges in the magazine and transmits the information to the display.
As clever as it is though, the nifty gadget holds a whopping price tag just shy of $1,000! As such, it’s not seeing regular police use at the moment. But since literally everything is going smart these days, I wouldn’t be surprised to see law enforcement pick it up soon.
Remote-Control Road Spikes
Remotely deployed flying road spikes are now real, and they're being used by police across the US to stop fleeing vehicles in their tracks. They work similarly to traditional spike strips by puncturing the tires of a criminal’s car. But unlike traditional spike strips, they’re not slow and cumbersome to lay across the road.
Made by DynaSystems, these new spike strips can be flung out at the touch of a remote control! All you need to do is set the case at the side of the road and wait for the perfect moment to pull the trigger. Then, once the car is approaching- fire away! This means that not only are the spikes super-fast to set up, they’re also much harder to spot by any incoming driver.
But that’s not all; the creator of the spiky boys, Eric Spencer, actually came up with the idea as a way to save lives. Laying standard road spikes is a dangerous business if you’re too slow, you could be hit. In fact, over 20 officers have been taken out like this. So, Spencer set to work coming up with a safer alternative, and thus the remote-controlled spike strip was born!
Riot Control Vehicle
The Bozena Security System is a huge, 20-ton riot control system and this thing is an absolute beast. It might look like something out of the last Transformers movie, but the colossal machine is very real. Instead of transforming into a talking robot though, it’s actually designed to protect police officers from street rioters and other potential dangers.
Up to 38 officers can shelter behind a huge 24ft fireproof and bulletproof shield on the front. And it can expand and contract too, so despite the vehicle’s size it can fit down all sorts of streets, and completely block them off if necessary. The barrier can also be raised up to 10 feet in the air, allowing officers to move out from underneath like some kind of police army.
It’s not all barrier and no bite though, it also has weapon ports so officers can fire everything from rubber bullets to smoke and gas grenades through them. Plus, it’s equipped with all your typical police vehicle features like flashing lights, loudspeakers, and cameras.
Even if a crowd of people somehow managed to get past all that, it can still easily withstand the pressure from over 100 rioters pushing against it. So, it’s pretty indestructible. Nonetheless, this seems like a pretty aggressive solution to crowd control, as it’s literally designed so that police can shoot, gas, and bulldoze people out of the way.
We’ve covered some pretty massive gadgets now, but sometimes the best things come in small packages. The Recon Throwbot 2 is a micro-robot barely eight inches long, but it’s strong enough to withstand repeated drops from up to 30 feet high! In fact, as its name suggests, it was designed to be thrown!
It’s not some kind of overengineered yo-yo though. Made for the military, the Throwbot can be tossed into a potentially hazardous area, where it uses built in cameras and microphones to capture instant video and audio.
This is streamed over to a remote control held by the operator, and helps soldiers make an informed decision on their next move. And some models can even be programmed to explode, creating a sneaky distraction.
Despite its size, the Throwbot can easily drive over a variety of different terrains and clear all kinds of obstacles. Plus, it can film in complete darkness and is water and dust resistant too; so virtually nothing phases this thing!
Did you know that if some species of worm are cut in half, they don’t die? In fact, both halves can regenerate into two fully functioning worms. Scientists have created a futuristic robot with this very concept in mind: the Snakebot. Just like a worm, if you chop it in half, it’ll still function.
It’s all down to that chain-like body. The Snakebot is made up of a number of independently operating links, which form a long chain, giving it its snake-like appearance. Because these links don’t depend on one another to function, if any one part of the chain is destroyed, the robot can continue to operate!
But what is it actually used for? Technically, it’s not being used in the field for anything right now. But if a camera was built into it, its design makes it perfect for covert surveillance in the future. The thin, slinky Snakebot can maneuver through tight spaces, climb over objects, and even slither up trees.
So let’s say a soldier needs a panoramic view to scout an area. Or maybe a police officer needs to check out a multi-story building with potentially dangerous people inside. The snakebot would be perfect! Just set it down and use a remote control to maneuver it into position.
Variants of the Snakebot are even being developed with artificial intelligence, so they won’t need human input to move at all! In the future, we might witness these things pitted against one of those robotic dogs.
It’s one thing modeling a gadget off of a snake, but researchers in Singapore have taken it one step further. They’re developing actual cyborg beetles, that is, real insects that can be remotely controlled from afar.
Scientists have mounted tiny battery powered backpacks on their backs and implanted electrodes into their flight muscles. These allow small electric pulses to be administered to the corresponding muscles, making them contract and steer the bugs left or right. They can even control the speed of the bug by upping the frequency of the pulses.
Nanyang Technological University has successfully pulled off several experiments like this, electrically controlling the insects with a remote. And over in Washington, they’ve even been equipped with miniscule cameras to record anything they come across.
While for now the footage from such a tiny camera is poor at best, what’s to say it won’t be much higher quality in the future? Something as tiny and inconspicuous as a beetle could do a pretty amazing job at spying on people.
Heavy Duty Vehicle Barriers
Compared to the other gadgets, you might think the next one is pretty boring. But you’d be wrong. It’s called a Modular Vehicle Barrier, and despite its humble design, it’s seriously impressive.
This lightweight, portable barrier is less than three feet tall and weighs just 52 pounds, which is lighter than some breeds of dog. Yet, incredibly, it can stop eight-ton trucks dead in their tracks! At least, if they’re traveling close to 20mph. A truck of that size is a whopping 307 times the barrier’s weight!
And the craziest part? The barrier doesn’t destroy the vehicle or overturn it, meaning the driver won’t be seriously harmed!
But how can something so lightweight stop something so heavy? That’s all down to its unique design. The magic lies in the L-shape of the barrier. When a vehicle crashes into it, the momentum is turned down into the ground, where it has nowhere to go and is almost completely absorbed.
It's not the only barrier on the block though. Another that deserves a shout-out is the Heald HT1 Raptor system. They are retractable at the push of a button, and they can stop an eight-ton truck even if it’s traveling at a blistering 50mph.
The company behind their design are pretty secretive about what makes them so damn tough, but apparently it’s due to some seriously heavy duty internal sheet steel reinforcement. While the bollards themselves will remain unscathed though, the same definitely can’t be said for any car that drives into them.
SubSea Craft, Real-Life Bond Boat
Although we’re still a way off inventing James Bond’s invisible surfing car, we do have the insane technology needed for the Subsea Craft Victa, the world’s first speedboat and submarine hybrid!
This amazing piece of kit allows special forces to speed along the surface of any river or ocean, before completely submerging under the water and covertly traveling to enemy shores! Complete with a diesel-powered engine and powerful waterjets, while in its boat-form it can race across the water at almost 50mph.
It’s made out of super-tough carbon fiber too, so can withstand a beating, but a special foam core keeps it light. When you’re ready to submerge, all you need to do is press a button and you’ll be underwater in just two minutes.
To achieve this feat, the Victa completely floods its cabin, effectively sinking the vessel! Therefore, anyone inside has to wear diving gear. They don’t breathe with their personal tanks though, they’re for emergencies.
Instead, the Victa has its own built-in air supply to plug into, which has enough air to keep eight people going for four hours. This is more than enough time, considering there’s only enough fuel to propel the vehicle 30 miles once submerged.
Although the Victa is still in the development stage at the time this article's been written, the first prototype was tested back in 2021 and it’s highly likely to be used by militaries of the future. With an astronomical price tag of $11 million though, most of us will have to wait until a big lottery win before coasting around the ocean pretending to be 007!
If you were amazed at these next generation police gadgets, you might want to read our article about unbelievable police tactics. Thanks for reading!