A special-ops soldier carries a slew of gadgets into battle. There's the GPS unit to pinpoint his squad's location, and a laptop for pulling up blueprints of terrorist compounds or infrared readings of buildings scoped out by robotic surveillance drones. With a radio and its five-pound battery, it's too much gear. But in a couple years, troops could lighten their load with a rugged, flexible, wrist-mounted display that's in development by the U.S. Army and HP Labs.
While the Army works on a color screen, troops will test the black-and-white device and provide feedback for the final version, which should be ready for military use by 2011.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.