At this year's Association of the U.S. Army gathering, developers showed off a handful of new military-focused apps (using consumer hardware, mostly) that bring a new level of seriousness to our gadgets. Sure, you may be an expert tower defense game player, but what about defending actual towers?
The apps mostly center on mapping, in various forms. One of the best uses of a smartphone in the consumer world is the ability to center yourself, to find out where you are and what's around you, good and bad. In the military, it's not so different, but instead of finding good coffeeshops and avoiding the C train, you'd want to know the locations of your allies and enemies. There are a few different ways to do it, some of which works with specific hardware.
The iPad, with its big screen, is a great device for GPS mapping. The image above, from Textron Systems, uploads the locations of friendlies and unfriendlies to SoldierEyes, a secure cloud-based service. Then there's Raytheon's curiously named RATS (Raytheon Advanced Tactical Systems), which provides a sort of buddy list that allows secure sharing of locations between users. Instead of SoldierEyes, RATS uses a server called RATMAN (no word on if Raytheon swiped some of DARPA's rogue acronym-writers for this).
But the iPad notably lacks a camera, so it can't handle any kind of augmented reality. Local Augmented Reality, which also uses SoldierEyes, is an Android app that allows you to hold the device up like a camera and see icons representing allies or enemies, even if you can't physically see them.
These apps aren't available in the App Store or Android Market, for pretty obvious reasons, and aren't currently being used in the field--but they definitely give the smartphone in your pocket an element of potential danger. It's great seeing our own gadgetry being used for insane/deadly purposes, like flash drives, iPhones, and, um, dogs.
Does it have the app store?
but what about defending actual towers? omg i laughed at this
I can definitely see a "comm guy" or maybe the OIC wearing an augmented reality visor or HUD display over his eye/face so he can see critically important points like enemy positions uploaded by another unit.
It'll be cool, if the guy could mark a point on the ground where he wants different elements of a task force to position themselves on the fly in real time to best ambush or defend against enemy forces..
Real life technology is starting to imitate art...video games have been doing this for some time now...only because most gamers need the extra helping hand to get them to the right part of the level due to "invisible walls"...lol.
Aircraft already do this...we just need to miniaturize it some more so the guys on the ground can use it, too. Most US military aircraft can be programmed with way points in their navigation systems, as well as other important data like known enemy SAM/AAA sites...so they'll know to avoid it.
If you want to visualize this just youtube "Battlefield Bad Company 2: spotting targets" That would be the same.