Haptic soldiers guided by buzzing belt
By: Duncan Graham-Row | Posted 27 June 2011
Image: Teru Kuwayama/Corbis
THE US army is testing a navigation device that allows soldiers to feel their way, literally, through the fog of war. The device, a haptic belt, feeds information to the wearer through coded vibrations and can also relay orders given as hand signals via a glove that recognises gestures.
Navigation can be extremely difficult for soldiers, especially at night, says Elmar Schmeisser, who has been leading the work at the Army Research Office in North Carolina. GPS devices are not ideal as they require soldiers to take their eyes off their surroundings and their hand off their weapon. The illuminated displays can give away their position at night, too.