Friday, January 05, 2007

Alerting vests for soldiers

A challenge for cognitive ergonomics ...

"If you were a soldier, I'm sure you would like to be warned in real time of an imminent danger. According to New Scientist, MIT researchers have developed a vibrating vest which could send alerts to soldiers. But here comes the tricky part: the alerts will wirelessly be sent to 16 motors located on the wearer's back. And the soldier will have to remember which combination of vibrations on his back means "Danger!," "Stop" or "Run," as he was not stressed enough. It is certainly technologically feasible, but is this practical? I don't think so.

Here is how New Scientist describes the vest.

"A vibrating vest that writes messages on its wearer's back is being tested by researchers in the US. In future, it could be used to send important commands to soldiers or fire-fighters, warning them of imminent danger when ordinary radios cannot be used, for example.
The vest is made from black spandex and fastens around a person's lower torso with Velcro. An array of 16 small vibrating motors is embedded in the back of the vest and connects to a control unit on one side. This unit contains a wireless transceiver linked wirelessly to a controlling computer.

There are not many images of this vest online. Neither New Scientist nor the U.S. Army are showing it prominently. But here is a picture of the 16 vibrating motors which will be embedded in the MIT tactile vest (Credit:MIT). And here is a link to a larger version."    (Continued via Technology Trends)    [Ergonomics Resources]

MIT Tactile Vest - Ergonomics

MIT Tactile Vest

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