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iPhone Brains And Wearable Computers

Smartphones might render the Army's plans to network soldiers together obsolete. But the Army won't let a little thing like obsolescence throw it off course.

Dan Gould

Wired reports on the U.S. Army’s impressive digital communications system:

Smartphones are all the rage in Army circles, as top generals talk up the prospect that only a few technical fixes stand in the way of a soldier having an iPhone or an Android phone as part of his basic kit. But don’t expect the Army to scrap the suite of wearable computers, cameras, radios, GPS and digitized maps it’s spent years developing just because a phone you can buy at Best Buy makes its functions redundant.

Like a superhero designed by Rob Liefeld, that system, called Nett Warrior, snakes cables around a soldier’s body armor to network him with his unit or headquarters through an array of computers and peripherals. It adds between 12 to 15 pounds to his load. But the biggest challenge to Nett Warrior comes from the phones soldiers carry in their pockets — when they’re in civilian gear, that is.

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