camera can also enable augmented reality features such as facial recognition or, like Q-Warrior, battlefield data. Most importantly, ODG’s smart glasses do not require a separate battery pack or any specialist equipment. CONCLUSION Soldiers at the squad level now enjoy more real-time data and situational awareness than staff officers did just one generation ago. They can communicate in the most inhospitable regions on earth utilizing communications gear super-charged with audio, visual and data networking. Enhanced vision technology enables new clarity—even in the fog of war— and new targeting technology delivers pin-point accuracy even in the dead of night. Better power management and battery technology enables multiple devices to be powered simultaneously—in ever smaller and lighter packages. These advances have made modern militaries extremely agile, flexible and potent. “System of Systems” development models as well as R and D approaches that leverage the speed and innovation of commercial solutions, such as network-based software distribution, have both yielded important technology successes. The ongoing application of these technologies is of vital concern to the world’s democracies as we pursue our shared military goals, manage civil unrest, counter terrorism, protect vulnerable populations, and deliver disaster relief— noble goals indeed for the future soldier. The remaining pages of this special edition of QwikConnect outline the world’s most comprehensive and innovative line of interconnect solutions for soldier applications—from small form-factor connectors to lightweight EMI cable shielding—all designed and manufactured by Glenair.
The snap-lock, trigger-release MouseBud connector is ideally suited for HUD-equipped helmet technology
their modernization programs. A soldier HMD works in a similar way to a pilot’s HUD, displaying vital information without the soldier having to look down at maps or devices. In 2009, Rockwell Collins was awarded a contract to provide 1,500 of its ProView S035A HMD systems—originally developed for tank crews—to the US military under its Land Warrior program. The S035A features a high-resolution display module with a 35-degree diagonal field of view, allowing soldiers to view C2 data and video feeds. The display is connected to a control module which is powered by three AA batteries lasting around eight hours. In 2014, BAE Systems unveiled its own version of HMD technology for soldiers called Q-Warrior. The system has been designed and developed at its Electronic Systems business in Kent, England. Q-Warrior uses a holographic waveguide display so it resembles traditional HUD systems both in form and function. The display module clips on a standard helmet rail and doesn’t require modification to existing kit. Unlike previous HMD technology for soldiers, BAE Systems’ technology allows data to blend intuitively with the soldier’s view of the real world. This is popularly known as augmented reality in the commercial world and offers several advantages over previous HMD systems. Q-Warrior overlays full-color graphical iconography—including friendly/hostile positions, navigation waypoints and close air support data—directly onto the real world. Soldiers can access live video feed from unmanned aircraft and other surveillance assets, improving situational awareness. BAE Systems says the technology will be best suited for JTACs or with Special Forces. Much of the technology found in Q-Warrior has been developed as part of DARPA’s Urban Leader Tactical Response, Awareness and Visualization (ULTRA-Vis) programme. One of the key challenges that remains for the soldier HMD is size, weight and price. Today’s systems can be unwieldy and cost thousands of dollars which ultimately means widespread adoption is unlikely, but as technology advances we can expect to see much wider use. And you don’t have to look far to see what the future might look like. In 2014, San Francisco-based company Osterhout Design Group unveiled its smart glasses concept which has the potential to revolutionize wearable tech for soldiers. The innovative X-6 glasses feature a dual-core processor, 64GB storage and two see-through HD displays. A tiny 5 megapixel
Q-Warrior lightweight, full-color see-thru display for day and night applications. Photo: BAE Systems
Qwik Connect n January 2015
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