The Soldier Design Competition, an annual event sponsored by MIT and the United States Military Academy at West Point, draws some the most innovative ideas from the military’s young minds. PopMech was lucky enough to visit West Point during the cadets’ presentations this year, where teams pitched more than a dozen projects to a panel of three judges. This is more than a science fair: For the past several years, Soldier Design Competition contestants have generated two or three patents per year. This is the first step of a two-part contest—the first step is here at the academy, while the finals will be held in MIT, against students, in May.
Here, in no particular order, are five ideas that show the scope of the West Point projects that made it to the finals. It’s not necessary to believe these projects will be developed to appreciate them. It may be enough to know that the next generation of military minds has a grasp on the innovative, and the achievable.