WASHINGTON -- When it comes to a hi-tech military, drones are only the beginning. Future weapons look like they're out of science fiction, complete with robots running on artificial intelligence.
The latest technology from the Department of Defense (DoD) designed to keep our military stronger and safer was on display at "DoD Lab Day 2017."
Currently, the Defense Department has thousands of scientists and engineers working at more than 60 DoD labs in 22 states -- part of their effort to give us a war-fighting edge and to keep all Americans safe.
One of the hi-tech devices the agency is working on is a helmet is equipped with augmented reality. It superimposes a computer generated image of the real world, allowing a gunner on a ship to see the command, on when to fire.
Heidi Buck is the director of the BEMR Lab, which came up with the idea.
"Normally how they do it -- the gunner is receiving his firing commands from someone standing next to him whose on a radio," Buck explained. "That person is receiving his commands from someone far away. So this helmet takes the place of a person."
Staff Sgt. Ronald Geer with the Night Vision and Electronics Senors Directorate added, "Any potential enemy firing positions, any potential obstacles that are updated on that map, I can see it displayed on here."
Ground forces use similar technology that includes day and nighttime thermal imagery.
If a soldier is under heavy fire and doesn't want to expose any part of the body, that's not an issue.
Staff Sgt. Geer explained that while holding a gun, "I can put this around a wall. I can fire it from overhead and I can still see where it's looking. I can still effectively fire my weapon because of that wireless connectivity with this device."
Another idea currently under testing is a low cost 3-D printing disposable aircraft.
Planes can be designed for specific missions, such as for weapons, jamming radar, or finding and locating targets.
Engineers say their life expectancy is shorter than the real thing, but can be made for a fraction of the cost.