Militaries want soldiers to carry an increasing amount of tech on to the battlefield, but that isn't necessarily convenient -- or comfortable. MIT and the US Army have started early work on uniforms with fiberoptic sensors that would alleviate much of that burden. By weaving in microfibers cut from a mix of specialized, fluidized materials, the partnership can build data links that cover the entire body without breaking or adding significant bulk. They could serve as basic elements of a communication system, but MIT has broader ambitions: the sensors could track wounds through heat signatures, and just might prevent friendly fire incidents by sending a don't-shoot signal when targeted with a laser sight. The fibers still have to get much thinner before the Army can offer smart uniforms as standard issue, but the wearable tech may keep soldiers nimble and, just possibly, save a few lives.
Filed under: Wearables