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29 Jun 2011

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Night Time GEOINT: Vibrating Belts Guide Soldiers Through the Night

Added by Category: Daily Intelligence Brief, General


Without a doubt today’s warfighters are dealing with the most challenging environments – often fighting a mostly invisible enemy in very difficult terrain. Compounded with these challenges is the fact that they have to support missions during the night, where visibility conditions are at their lowest. Soldiers often have to wear clunky night-vision goggles, or risk being seen by the enemy because of backlit GPS displays. Well, this has all changed with a new haptic interface developed by Army researchers will help soldiers “feel their way through the darkness instead.”

The Army Research Office developed a vibrating belt with eight mini actuators (also called “tactors”) that provide all of the necessary cardinal directions. According to Popsci.com, the belt is hooked up to a GPS navigation system, a digital compass and an accelerometer, so the system knows which way a soldier is headed even if he’s lying on his side or on his back.

Here’s some more from that story:

The tactors vibrate at 250 hertz, which equates to a gentle nudge around the middle. Researchers developed a sort of tactile morse code to signify each direction, helping a soldier determine which way to go, New Scientist explains. A soldier moving in the right direction will feel the proper pattern across the front of his torso. A buzz from the front, side and back tactors means “halt,” a pulsating movement from back to front means “move out,” and so on.

Very amazing stuff that will surely keep the warfighter safe while being able to better have situational awareness. Read more here.

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