This article from InfoWorld says that "in the battle of the future, the helmet becomes a data retrieval device." Let's look at a possible scenario.
As he advances on the battlefield, the U.S. Army soldier of the future is a network-connected fighting machine. Accessing a drop-down eyepiece on his helmet, called an Integrated Helmet Assembly Subsystem, he glances at a virtual computer monitor that links him to a GPS system showing his location as well as a live video feed from unmanned aerial vehicles.
He quickly checks computer-generated graphical data, digital maps, intelligence information, troop locations, and imagery fed from his weapon-mounted TWS (Thermal Weapon Sight). By scanning an area with the TWS, the soldier sees enemy positions. His climate controlled, lightweight body armor gives him ease of motion as he positions himself for battle.
When will this be possible?
Peter Marcotullio, director of development at SRI International, the Menlo Park, Calif.-based research center working with the Defense Department on the ad hoc network development, says sensors and other components that will make this connectivity possible may be available to the U.S. military in the next five years.
In this vision of future warfare, networks will be assembled on the fly as the battle is joined, Marcotullio says. "Each person is a network with routing capability to everyone else," he says. "Think of cascading networks, all IP-based, that are dynamic and self-configured as the troops advance."
As we know from the past, technologies pioneered by the military sooner or later are adopted by corporations. So we might all become networks ten years from now.
Please note that this article is part of a special report called "From the battlefield to the enterprise."
This series of articles looks at why some key technologies -- deployed on a massive scale in Afghanistan and Iraq -- may hold promise for corporate IT. You'll find there reports on communications, security and data mining, supply chain and logistics, and robotics and automation.
Source: Jack McCarthy, InfoWorld, May 30, 2003
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