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The Evolution of Army Wearable Computers. Matthew J. Zieniewicz; Douglas C. Johnson; Douglas C. Wong; and John D. Flatt Research, Development, and Engineering Center, US Army Communications Electronic Command. Gene-Ming Shih, 04/23/2003. Outline. Early beginnings : The Soldier's Computer

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the evolution of army wearable computers

The Evolution of ArmyWearable Computers

Matthew J. Zieniewicz; Douglas C. Johnson;

Douglas C. Wong; and John D. Flatt

Research, Development, and Engineering Center, US Army Communications Electronic Command

Gene-Ming Shih, 04/23/2003

  • Early beginnings : The Soldier's Computer
  • SIPE project
  • Functionality and requirements
  • The next phase
  • Key design factors
  • The JCF AWE(0.6 -> 1.0)
  • Major subsystems and components
  • Conclusion
early beginnings the soldier s computer
Early beginnings : The Soldier's Computer
  • James Schoening, Matt Zieniewicz 1989, John Flatt, Sal Barone, and Almon Gillette, 1990
  • Schoening:small wearable computer, integrated with a wireless link and helmet-mounted display (HMD)
  • Matt Zieniewicz:wireless data transmission, image capture, integrated Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers, and menudriven software
army material command s first trade show
Army Material Command's first trade show
  • Agilis bricktype 386-based computer
  • software:creating reports, displaying battlefield situation maps
  • ruggedized helmet-mounted quasi-VGA display
  • virtual 14-inch monochromatic display
  • used a trackball for input
  • could enter and transmit simple reports to other units
  • Natick Soldier Center:

SIPE Advanced-Technology Demonstration

sipe project
SIPE project
  • spring of 1990, led by Carol Fitzgerald
  • new digitized battlefield concept
  • portable, wearable battery-powered computer
  • computer needed to include:

image capture, an integrated radio, and a portable display unit

functionality and requirements
Functionality and requirements
  • bring computing devices to the individual soldier
  • none of the functions were commercially available
  • challenge:integrate these piecemeal components into a lightweight package
The new system aimed to digitize basic battlefield operations to help soldiers
    • Read maps, navigate, and maintain situation awareness
    • Receive, prepare, and send written field reports
    • Capture and transmit color still images for reconnaissance purposes
    • Access battlefield operations reference material
  • Software application:Developed in C
system architecture
System architecture
  • key hardware components:
    • computer processor with memory
    • a GPS receiver
    • a data radio
    • a video capture system
    • a digital compass
    • a miniature color camera
    • a video controller subsystem
    • an HMD
    • a power supply subsystem
    • wiring harnesses
    • and packaging
networking configuration
Networking configuration
  • FM packet radio-an increased range
  • fixed-gateway base station
  • Packet mode:compensated
  • data transmission:computer ➝ gateway ➝ server ➝ gateway ➝ appropriate computer
  • multihop lag
feedback from soldiers
Feedback from soldiers
  • “digitizing" the individual soldier
  • bore-sighted Thermal Weapon Sight (TWS)
  • operate longer on a set of batteries
  • computer-radio-GPS:18 pounds

HMD into helmet:nearly 8 pounds

CRT display:15 pounds

  • Drawback:delay in capturing and sending a still video image
the next phase
The next phase
  • Twenty-First Century Land Warrior project
  • Task Force XXI, mid 1990
  • development of Land Warrior, 1993
  • C4ISR
  • Land Warrior had to be:

lighter, smaller, lowerpowered, more rugged, easy to use, weigh almost nothing, work all day, and be comfortably placed and conveniently located

developing system requirements
Developing system requirements
  • Operational Requirements Document(ORD)
  • Drawback:The year-long process involved numerous meetings with both users and technical experts, who reviewed, in detail, the requirements' feasibility and applicability.
  • Next phase:material development
  • PM developed a performance-based system specification, stating what the system should do but not how it should do it
key design factors
Key design factors
  • technical architecture:open, modular, and flexible
  • could operate in their environment, including under water, and at extreme temperatures
  • system had to:minimize audible, radio frequency, infrared, and visible emissions
the jcf awe
  • 82nd Airborne Division against conventionally equipped opposing force
the jcf awe cont
The JCF AWE (cont.)
  • Soldiers equipped with the Land Warrior,Version 0.6 participated in three missions
  • 1.To parachute onto and secure an airfield at night. After reattaching their HMDs and headsets and turning on the system, the soldiers could see their own location, where they were headed, and the location of their fellow troops overlaid on the assembly area map. Wireless voice and message communication, previously not available to all soldiers, proved beneficial, and everyone reached the assembly area in record time.
  • 2.An assault on a village with several buildings (to simulate
  • urban terrain) and enemy soldiers. The Land Warrior
  • system automatically transmitted position reports for eight
  • leaders in the platoon to higher-echelon software systems.
  • 3.A night ambush.
the jcf awe cont1
The JCF AWE (cont.)
  • PM Soldier learned numerous lessons:
    • different power sources,
    • fewer cables with less exposure,
    • improved reliability and ruggedness,
    • reduction in electromagnetic interference
  • Land Warrior, Version 1.0(Land Warrior Initial Capability)
design rationale
Design rationale
  • leveraging commercial components
  • battery problems:USB SMBus(System Management Bus)
  • color SVGA display:six to nine inches diagonal ➝ touchscreen display
  • Mission Data Support Equipment
    • laptop computer and
    • USB-to-Ethernet adapters
  • software:Mission Data package
major subsystems and components
Major subsystems and components
  • computer subsystem
  • helmet subsystem
  • control and communications subsystem
  • weapons subsystem
  • navigation system
computer subsystem
computer subsystem
  • runs Windows
  • weighs:1.79 pounds
  • consists of the computer assembly:flash memory, and video board
  • Box:single external connector for power, USB, and IEEE 1394

FireWire connections

helmet subsystem
helmet subsystem
  • consists of the HMD, hearing devices, and microphone devices
  • HMD:an 800×600-pixel full-color display using an organic light-emitting

diode display

  • view his or her location, other

friendly locations, and his or her

direction of travel (heading).

control and communications subsystem
control and communications subsystem
  • control unit:lets soldiers manipulate system configurations and generate and send tactical messages
  • communications subsystem:transmits voice and data so that soldiers can communicate in their squad
  • mesh:forwards packets to soldiers in multiple hops enhances the system's range
  • AN/PRC-148 multiband inter/intra

team radio

weapons subsystem wss
weapons subsystem (WSS)
  • mounted Daylight Video Sight and TWS for sighting
  • soldier can mount currently issued aiming lights, an infrared pointer, or a multifunctional laser
  • laser range finder and digital compass
  • A peg grip on the weapon's stock:let soldiers make calls, transition between sighting systems, capture images, and locate targets without removing a hand from the weapon.
navigation system
navigation system
  • GPS receiver
  • magnetic compass heading sensor
  • dead reckoning module
full Land Warrior system includes
    • electronics, other items that constitute the soldier's combat load, including clothing, armor, weapons, and ammunition
  • For more information:
a timeline of army wearable computer systems
A timeline of Army wearable computer systems
  • around the soldier's equipment ➝ with the soldier's equipment ➝ within the soldier's equipment
  • all-in-one wearable system ➝ all-for-one system that a soldier wears to fight (embedded in an integrated combat uniform)
exploring advances
exploring advances
  • wearable computing devices/the use of handheld devices
  • can run on small portable-computing platforms
  • augmented reality (AR)
  • location-aware handheld computing:long-range communications
  • hands free