Tactile display could convey signals on soldiers' backs

Although glitzy, stat-filled jerseys are certainly sufficient ways to get information off your chest (ahem), a new vibrating vest could give "body language" an entirely new meaning. Joining the air-conditioned and insulating renditions, this snazzy vest features a "tactile display" on the back, which is created by 16 small vibrating motors that are connected to an internal wireless control unit. The jacket "writes symbols and messages on its wearer's back," and while the actual writing resembles Braille more than text, it can supposedly be used to "send important commands to soldiers or firefighters, warning them of imminent danger when ordinary radios cannot be used." Commands are beamed to the vests via a wirelessly-enabled computer, and can stealthily inform platoons to stop, look in a specific direction, run, or slow down. The US Army is partially funding the research, as it hopes to investigate different ways to communicate when hand signals and / or radio transmissions aren't effective. During initial testing, results have shown nearly flawless interpretation by participants, and while we're not exactly sure when we can expect rumble-equipped gear to grace our armedforces, the problem of "excess noise from the motors" has to be quelled before hitting the battlefield.

[Via BoingBoing]