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The Pentagon has invested millions of dollars to make the size, weight and power of wearable technology and equipment smaller and easier for troops to carry.
The Department of Defense wants to give airmen and soldiers an advantage in combat by integrating technology with lightweight wearable equipment.
Wearable technology, like helmet mounted displays, allow combat airmen on the ground to link into what airborne cameras see and may give air traffic controllers a way to spot where aircraft fly, according to Gregory M. Burnett, chief engineer at the Battlefield Air Targeting Man-Aided Knowledge, or BATMAN lab, at the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson base in Ohio.
“We’re really trying to augment the operator and aid them throughout their many duties and responsibilities that they conduct in combat and humanitarian assistance,” Burnett said.
“Anything we can alleviate and reduce the cognitive and physical needs on our airmen is very much of interest to the Air Force,” he said.
One defense research project, Warrior Web, is a lightweight under suit meant to make it easier for troops who carry loads of more than 100 pounds over rough terrain for miles, according to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The reinforced suit has a myriad of sensors to monitor and gather data on a soldier wearing it.
The U.S. Army Research Lab tested the suit to determine how well it reduces soldiers’ injuries and fatigue, DARPA said.