Information Warfare: March 10, 2003


In Kuwait, at least one embedded reporter (assigned to a combat unit) has received permission to equip a soldier with a lipstick camera. These devices are about the same size as a lipstick and weigh less than an ounce. Mountain bicyclists, skiers and skateboarders have been rigging these to helmets to obtain footage of their more exciting runs. You just tape the camera and a mike to the helmet and run the cables down to a video camera in a fanny pack. Most video cameras can take video in from another camera. A color lipstick camera costs about $600. These have good low light capability, as they were first developed for use as security cameras. Thus the entire rig costs less than a thousand dollars and weighs (with the video camera) about five pounds. The US "Objective Warrior" (future infantryman) program plans on equipping troops with a wireless lipstick camera so troops can share what they are seeing, or instantly send the video back to headquarters. If used in combat, the video would be very jerky and the language rather salty. Some of the images might also be pretty gruesome, either the views of shot up enemy troops, or the sounds of an American soldier wounded or dying. The ultimate reality TV. But much can be learned from seeing, and hearing, how troops actually operate in action. This was discovered during the use of realistic training exercises that were monitored by cameras and sound recorders.


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