Infantry: June 15, 2003


The U.S. Army has awarded a $100 million contract to develop a new combat uniform that will incorporate lots of electronics and communications equipment. The "wired uniform" will monitor things like heartbeat and respiration and the helmet/eyepiece assembly will be able to receive and send digital information (text and pictures). The prototype uniforms are to be ready by 2006. If these pass troop tests, the production versions will cost up to $30,000 each. In addition, the Army wants to lessen the combat soldiers load by 50 percent (to about 50 pounds) by developing lighter armor and using small "mechanical mules" (possibly robotic) to carry a lot of other gear cross country. A major task with this project is expected to be software development. Having your uniform "crash" on the battlefield could be fatal. But we'll also hear a new type of command while under fire, "reboot that uniform and get moving, soldier!"


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