This website is an old one, but still very relevant. Without saying i told you so.... but it was always inevitable!
These days the U.S. Department of Defense is cutting budgets, winding down after a decade of war and profligate spending. Even their technological edge is being challenged; Google is competing mightily with the military's techno-research wing, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), taking the lead in the new wave of robotic hardware.
But once upon a time the U.S. military, through the old War Department, DARPA or any number of private companies it commissioned, was the premier inventive force in American technological ingenuity. Its products not only survived the transition from wartime to peace, but also thrived in the consumer market.
Here's a quick run-down of some of the DoD's most famous and influential products to hit the mainstream. Will advancements in solar energy be next?
The original backpack-worn Motorola "Walkie-Talkie."
In 1940 Motorola received a War Department contract to produce the SCR-300, a portable The two way radio carried on a soldier's back, hence name "Walkie-Talkie." (Eventually the handheld SCR-536 was also put out, with the nickname "Handie-Talkie," which unsurprisingly didn't catch on.)
Motorola produced a whopping 50,000 devices for the U.S. military throughout the war, and after 1945 the slimmed-down handheld version penetrated the consumer market. To this day Motorola has integrated the vintage technology into one of its lines of cell phones to circumvent sketchy service areas.