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US Army testing haptic belt that nudges soldiers in the right direction


Haptic belts and other wearable devices that can guide you may not exactly be a new idea -- we've even seen some DIY attempts -- but the US Army testing them? Well, that's something worth noting. As New Scientist reports, the Army Research Office in North Carolina is now working on just such a device (likely more advanced than the one pictured here), and hopes that the belts could eventually be used to remotely guide soldiers on the battlefield. That's done with a combination of GPS, an accelerometer and a compass -- and, of course, the haptic part of the equation, which vibrates or pulses to point the soldier in the right direction, or indicate when they're nearing their target. The idea there being to reduce the need for any handheld devices (at least until thought helmets become a reality), which can both take the soldiers' eyes off the battlefield and potentially reveal their position at night. There's still no indication as to when the belts might actually see use in the field, but early tests show that they're at least as accurate as a handheld GPS, and the soldiers say they actually prefer it.

[Image credit: Sreekar Krishna]

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