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Mini-Warriors: Microelectromechanical Systems: A Munitions Revolution

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Journal Article

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Naval Surface Warfare Center -Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division Indian Head United States

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In 1959, renowned physicist Dr. Richard Feynman proposed the idea of very tiny machines that could perform micro-level tasks with macro-level effects. Today such machines exist, measuring only millimeters, with gears and levers smaller than dust mites. In smart phones, they change display orientations as you move the phone, and in cars, they collect speed, acceleration and steering data, sending that data to an in-vehicle network. These microelectromechanical systems, or MEMS, are increasingly found in systems we use daily, replacing larger, heavier, and less reliable components at lower costs. They are freeing up space in systems, enabling performance improvements and added functions, and they are performing previously unimaginable tasks at the micro level. Like their significant transformation of commercial systems, MEMS have the potential to transform munitions across defense systems, as found in MEMS development at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division Indian Head EODTD.

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