Backyard to Battlefield: About the Show

Backyard to Battlefield takes you through the amazing highs and lows of the world of the 'outsider' defense contractor - the people working out of their garages and workshops to create some of the most radical military inventions out there.

Working in small teams without the support of the Big Guns of the defense industry, these intensely motivated young people are creating some mind blowing new tools for the ultimate R&D organization: the U.S. military.

In the premiere of Backyard to Battlefield, we follow Geoff and Mike Howe, identical twin brothers from Maine, who are building a prototype for the "Ripsaw," the world's fastest UGV - Unmanned Ground Vehicle. This compact tank-like invention will be able to ram under, over, and through some of the toughest terrain on the planet at more than 80 miles per hour - almost twice that of a standard tank.

In urban combat or mountainous terrain, the Ripsaw promises to change the face of military missions. Its agility and speed are matched by its ingenious modular design, making it simple to maintain and utterly reliable. For reconnaissance, for flank protection, and more, the Ripsaw could be a game changer.

Not too far away, in Cambridge Massachusetts, Backyard to Battlefield also follows a very different story as a group of young MIT grads challenge themselves to build a robot with superhuman qualities - the BEAR - that promised to be able to go into combat zones, rescue wounded soldiers by picking them up, and carrying them to safety.

For a robot, this is an enormous challenge - to be strong enough, gentle enough, and controlled enough not to hurt the person it is sent out to save.