It’s not news that the soldiers fighting today’s wars have to lug many pieces of technology around with them, in addition to weapons and armor. GPS and communications devices and other electronic military gear are hauled around, but adding extra weight for the soldiers to carry are the batteries and wires that power all of the devices they have to carry.
Tech.li reports, however, that a solution is on its way, at least for soldiers in the United Kingdom. The U.K.’s Centre for Defence Enterprise reportedly is unveiling new uniforms for soldiers that have the ability to conduct electricity within the actual fabric of the uniform. This means that soldiers won’t have to have countless wires and batteries running around their bodies, and ultimately, they should be safer (and more effective) as a result.
As Tech.li notes, one of the most critical areas of improvement that will be seen with this uniform technology comes with the mitigation of problems from fabric tearing. Up until now, if a soldier’s uniform were torn, there would be a chance that some of the wiring beneath the uniform would be damaged. With conductive uniforms, however, that will be less of a concern.
It will be a few years before all soldiers are outfitted with such uniforms, as extensive testing is needed. Other uniform-enhancement technologies that are being developed in parallel with the conductive fabrics include a fabric keyboard, shock-absorbing material for helmets and armor, an electrical sensing robotic hand with pneumatic muscles, and a small aerial vehicle that transmits video to a smartphone or tablet PC.