I wouldn’t have come up with the idea, but when I think about it, it was only a matter of time before someone came up with the idea of a “new combat sport and entertainment experience.” That someone is an Australian outfit called Chiron Global, and the sport they’ve invented is called Unified Weapons Master.
“Until now the opportunities for weapons martial artists to compete in true, full combat have been limited due to the fear of serious injury, and the inability to objectively determine the outcome.” (Source: Chiron Global/UWM)
But now, thanks to Lorica, an “intelligent armor” system, warriors can hack away at each other without having an arm hacked off or a skull bashed in. (The name Lorica comes from the Latin for body armor, and is also the name of a prayer for protection that was chanted by early Christian monks. And, yes, in case you’re wondering, I did have to look it up. Thanks, Wikipedia.)
“UWM’s highly advanced, intelligent armour can withstand high impact strikes from real but blunt martial arts weapons. The armour encapsulates technology that calculates the force and location of each strike to determine in real time who the winner would have been if the competitors were unprotected…Not since the age of the Colosseum have large-scale audiences been able to watch live, full contact, weapons combat in a dynamic format. UWM will change this forever.” (Source: Chiron Global/UWM)
Has there actually been any demand since the age of the Colosseum to watch such a spectacle? I guess there is now.
Anyway, this is probably one of the few tech product development companies that has teams dedicated to product development, combat development, and medical and biomedical. (This latter team is responsible for figuring out whether an arm would have been hacked off, or a skull bashed in, in a real-life Colosseum.)
Our production suits will use LED lighting embedded in the armour, that changes colour based on the damage occurring, until the point-of-death or knock-out occurs. Should neither of these scenarios occur within the designated rounds, the scoring system will calculate the real damage to the competitor had they not been wearing armour, and the competitor with the least damage will be the winner.
There wasn’t a ton of info I could find on the UWM site that talked about the technology, but from The Economist (which was where I first read about it), I learned that the suits of Armor are equipped with 52 sensors, “which 10,000 times a second measure various forces, including blows, accelerations and vibrations, generated by the impact of hands, feet and weapons. The data are wirelessly transmitted to a computer to calculate the fractures, tissue damage and other injuries which are likely to have been sustained had the fighters been unprotected.”
From The Economist I also learned that the medical/biomedical team is figuring out just how damaging something is by “attacking pig cadavers with weapons such as flails, arrows and ninja stars.”
I’ve always found life at Critical Link to be very challenging and interesting. Compared to attacking pig cadavers with ninja stars, things are pretty calm at our shop.