Information Warfare: July 11, 2005

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SOCOM (Special Operations Command), the U.S. Army and the U.S. Marines are equipping their troops with wearable computers and video eyewear so that troops can use video from UAVs, ground based vidcams or other sources, while they move around and fight. The video eyewear has been around for over a decade, but has gotten better over that time. The models the troops are now using provides 480x640 or 800x600 pixel displays that are flicker free, viewable in daylight and able to display 3-D images. The most common video eyewear used by the troops will cover only one eye, and  have an integrated ear piece. The military version of civilian models (from suppliers like Icuiti Corporation), cost under a thousand dollars and are designed to take video and sound feeds from game consoles or PCs. The eyewear weighs about 3.5 ounces, and runs off an iPod size controller, which runs for about four hours on two AA batteries. The wearable computer, using eyewear for a display, will be used for things like controlling UAVs, fire control (for bombers or artillery) or linking into battlefield networks (using Internet type technology.) While laptops and PDAs have been on the battlefield for over a decade, these devices are often too awkward for troop use. They want a wearable computer, weighing only a few pounds, so their hands are free to use a weapon. 

 


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