February 23, 2008

iPods in the Battle Zone...

This is pretty neat. iPods carried by our troops to use as phrase-books, and repositories of all the information they need for a mission....

...The creator of the VCommunicator software -- Orlando-based Vcom3D -- originally designed it to teach soldiers basic Iraqi Arabic phrases. However, now troops are finding new tactical applications for the device, said Ernie Bright, product manager at Vcom3D.

Troops also are uploading maps and other images and content onto the video iPods to assist them at vehide checkpoints and door-to-door searches, said Bright.

If soldiers are looking for a particular individual, they can load a photo of their target and correlate it to Arabic script that asks, "Do you recognize this person?"

Troops also can store sound clips and other pertinent information that they need to conduct mission briefs for small units, said Bright.

The most recent version of the Vcommunicator comes on the new iPod nano, which troops are strapping to their wrists or wearing on lanyards around their necks.

The nano units are much faster, much smaller and more user-friendly, said Youmans. "That's one of the benefits of using commercial off-the-shelf -- the technology advances really quickly," he told National Defense in a phone interview.

The nano variants were completed in time for the 4th Brigade's deployment last fall, he said.

The devices also come in languages that are suitable for operations in Afghanistan. In October, during a training exercise at Fort Polk, La., soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division tested iPod nanos programmed with the Dari and Pashto languages. Youmans said he expects the unit will request the devices for future deployments....

That off-the-shelf technology thing is very true. Can you imagine the Army ordering the creation of a Mil Spec equivalent? Spending a billion dollars developing something the size of a brick, and available by 2014? They could call it the Aquila-Pod!

That's one of the good things about an actual shooting war; it concentrates the mind. People solve problems—they just ruthlessly go ahead and solve them, without bureaucratic politeness. Which is another reason why the people who claimed that actually fighting a Global War on Terror would fray and frazzle and just wear out and spoil our shiny perfect military all have brown eyes—because they are full of shit up to their eyebrows.

Posted by John Weidner at February 23, 2008 7:47 AM
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