Soldiers are spread swiftly across a large area in lightweight round vehicles.
Inspiration from Nature
Branches of Salsola Kali turn and twist in themselves which distributes the weight of the tumbleweed uniformly. This helps tumbleweed disperse seeds over large areas.
One of the biggest military challenges in a dessert-like (hostile) environment is the fast mobility of individual troops. Wherever they cannot be airdropped they must be transported in heavily armored vehicles, which slows down logistics. Furthermore, they are put together in the same vehicle which is a risk. A lightweight military vehicle needs to be designed for individual troops. The vehicle should be easily maneuverable and equipped with enough firepower to execute a fast surgical strike.
When one designs for the forces of nature instead of opposing them, one can no longer discard the importance of context. From lizards to camels, organisms of dessert demonstrate a range of locomotive strategies. In order to move fast, either we find strong muscle force that generates a massive thrust (such as the attack of black cobra) or we find fragility and weightlessness of the organism in a context of forces (such as dandelion). The problem at hand however, requires control over navigation. And the most suitable solution is found in a type of tumbleweed called Russian thistle (Salsola Kali). Its thin branches twine and twist in themselves, distributing the load uniformly. And its lightweight structure gets rolled over by the wind. Since this strategy embraces just enough force from its context (wind) that the force does not alter the structural integrity of the tumbleweed, it is a perfect case for our vehicle.
Round spherical robots and tumbleweed structures have been designed for purposes ranging from art and entertainment to space and military. A number of concepts have given input to this nature gadget including Tumbleweed Survival Pod for Antarctica, NASA Mars Tumbleweed Robotic Rover, Seed Planting Tumbleweed Robot and even Inflated Sphere Robot (for structural integrity). The intended vehicle would need layers of revolving spheres separated by micro ball-bearings. The vehicle must have a mechanism for navigation.
A lightweight spherical military vehicle is designed which can roll over a surface with lightning speed. There are two spheres (1, 3), one rolling over the other and both layers are separated by micro ball-bearings (25). The inner sphere accommodates a soldier- who can take over navigation manually (6, 13) and is equipped with a foldable exoskeletal gun (48) attached to his/her seat (5). This sphere has all its backend systems (8) situated at the bottom so that the weight of the systems exert a constant downward force which keeps the inside stable and horizontal. The outer sphere revolves around the inner sphere and is constructed with chain wheel technology (34) which will soon be used for roving missions on Mars.
The following are some useful resources from the design process of this nature gadget.
Row1Column1: Closeup of Tumbleweed
Row1Column2: Russian Thistle Tumbleweed
Row1Column3: A Low-tech Tumbleweed Minesweeper
Row1Column4: A Tumbleweed Mines-weed
Row2Column1: BB-8 Concept Robot
Row2Column2: A Few Concepts of Tumbleweed
Row2Column3: Tumbleweed Survival Pod for Antarctica
Row2Column4: Mobile Spherical Robots
Row3Column1: Tumbleweed Robot
Row3Column2: NASA Mars Tumbleweed Robotic Rover
Row3Column3: Seed-Planting Tumbleweed Robot
Row3Column4: A Tumbleweed Robot to Stop the Spread of Deserts
Row4Column1: Inflated Sphere Robot (NASA)
Row4Column2: Details of the Robot Blown by the Wind
Row4Column3: Solar Robot Ball
Row4Column4: Balancing Robot on Ball