Like a lot of us, former Navy electrician Dennis Buller is worried about our troops over in Iraq -- specifically, about the amount of gear they have to lug around. But unlike the rest of us, he's built a machine to do something about it.Think of it as a Segway for grunts. Except you kneel down on it, instead of ride upright. "After seeing the Chronicles of Narnia, I want to call it the Centaur," Buller writes in. (Don't worry, George, he doesn't mean literally breeding animals with humans.) "See the movie and you will know what I mean."
This thing will scurry an infantryman around at twenty miles an hour, enable him to carry enough armor to make small arms obsolete, keep him warm, cool, and allow him to open a door and waste someone with extreme prejudice...I built this because I know how hard it is for non-Technical [sic] people to understand what is in my head. Plus I cannot draw...Dennis' prototype is about 3 1/2 feet long, and travels about eight miles an hour (the next one, he promises, will go twice as fast). The Centaur's small size makes it a better option for troops in urban battlefields than a Humvee, which "cannot pear [sic] around a corner, take cover in a house or dodge an RPG round." Dennis wants to pair later versions up with technology from the IBOT electric wheelchair, so the Centaur can climb stairs.
This first model is quite crude. But it works better than the first motorcycle, or the first ATV, or the first snowmobile. Not bad considering I made it in my shed.