US Army testing solar powered tents for troops, gadget addicted campers

While the military is still hashing out plans to outfit soldiers with their own smartphones, gadgets are already a part of daily life of troops in the field. Of course, more technology means more demand for power, and the Army has been evaluating technologies for flexible, lightweight photovoltaic tents and shades. "They are ideal for charging up batteries, making sure your (communications), night vision goggles and computers are powered up. You don't want a generator on top of a mountain, and you don't want to have to bring fuel to a generator or haul batteries," said assistant secretary of the Army Katherine Hammack. Among the various items being tested are the TEMPER Fly, a roughly 16-by-20-foot tent able to generate 800 watts of electricity; QUADrant, a smaller version of the TEMPER Fly that generates roughly 200 watts of power; and Power Shades capable of generating up to 3 kilowatts of exportable electrical power. Sounds like a kick-ass tent for next year's festival season!