Wearable Technology in the Military

November 19, 2015

The U.S. military takes seriously the need to equip its personnel with the best, safest and most reliable technology available. Each branch’s unique tasks necessitate specialized technology. Take the Air Force, for example. Have you heard of BATMAN? No, not Bruce Wayne. BATMAN, or Battlefield Air Targeting Man-Aided k(N)owledge, is an Air Force Research Laboratory program that designs military-grade tech for Special Operations. Since 2003, BATMAN has sought to outfit airmen with lightweight wearable technology that decreases accidents and increases odds of survival. How? By providing airmen with real-time combat intelligence.

With over 20 technologies already used by the Air Force, BATMAN’s contributions include:

  • Heads-Up Display (HUD) — HUD is a virtual display that overlays crucial battle data on top of the environment a person is actually seeing. It’s like a military version of Google Glass that displays information like distance to target and nearby friendly forces.
  • 3-D Audio — This feature gives distinct sounds to noises from every direction based on whether it came from north, south, east, or west. For example, a sound coming from behind would make a different noise than one coming from a person’s right.
  • Wrist Mount Display — This is an Android-based mount that will connect to a phone or tablet for fast and simple access to essential information. The mount also notes and reports on one’s vital signs.
  • Fiber-Optic Gloves — With various light colors and settings to choose from, lights can be used to be able to see, signal or even detect bodily fluids. Infrared and ultraviolet lights are two of the options.

The Air Force isn’t the only branch of the military using wearable tech. The U.S. Army is working on its own Iron Man suit, TALOS (Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit). This bullet-proof exoskeleton may be seen as early as 2018.

The Department of Defense has partnered with Apple and Lockheed Martin, as well as other tech organizations, as part of the Flexible Hybrid Electronics Manufacturing Innovation Hub. This initiative aims to create wearable technology such as stretchable electronics or fabric with woven-in electronics, as well as medical sensors and display overlays.

Innovation and technology leader Raytheon’s contributions to military tech include the Boomerang Warrior-X, a 12-ounce device that integrates into tactical vests and provides intel on the location of the individual attackers, including snipers, on a wrist display.

At Sealevel, we’ve partnered with the military to design and manufacture several types of COTS battlefield-ready technology that can be found at sea, on land, in the air, and even in space. These products include:

From planning stages to testing and ever step in the middle, we specialize in creating customized solutions that are compliant with many military standards, such as:

  • MIL-STD-810G
  • MIL-STD-464E
  • MIL-STD-1472G
  • MIL-STD-461F
  • MIL-STD-901D
  • MIL-STD-167-1
  • NEMA, IP and ATEX
  • Component Derating Process per NASA GSFC Preferred Reliability Practices

Consider partnering with us for your own customized technology needs.