VIBRATE TO COMMUNICATE

The Pentagon "is researching whether vibrating sensors on the body can quickly tell soldiers who is friend and who is foe, where the enemy waits and which way to turn," the AP's Mike Branom reports. "If so, then the most primitive of the five senses could be the future of communications in the armed forces."

A soldier relies on his eyes and ears to survive, but they also can get him killed. A squawking radio, a sergeant's shouted order can alert the enemy or be drowned out by the roar of battle. Hand signals are useless in the dark or at long distances. A heated firefight is not the place to stop and read a map..."The military could use a system that allows its soldiers to communicate wordlessly and to communicate silently," said Noah Shachtman, editor of Defensetech.org, a Web site dedicated to the latest in defense innovations...[In a] rudimentary test... [University of Central Florida] graduate student Chris Brill straps to a visitor a belt studded with what looks like small refrigerator magnets. The visitor then is seated before a laptop computer that's running a firing range simulation.The first target pops up, to the right of the virtual crosshairs. Immediately, an insistent vibration begins near the right hip. Pan right toward the target using the computer's touchpad and the buzzing moves left, like a mouse skittering across the waist.When the vibration is centered over the belly button, that's the cue the aim is true. Fire the "gun," the target drops and the buzzing stops.
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