By Mr. David Mcnally (RDECOM)November 30, 2009
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- The Army's research and development community is gearing up for a public technology demonstration Jan. 4-9 at the All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas.
The annual sporting event promises to connect America's student-athletes with today's Soldiers and the technology supporting them.
One of the hot items featured in the Army Strong Zone will be flexible displays. The U.S. Army funds the Flexible Display Center at Arizona State University, and officials say the technology shows promise.
"Our goal is to move this flexible display technology forward with cutting-edge research, and hopefully to see this made available for use in Soldier equipment," said U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command spokesman Robert DiMichele.
The Army Research Laboratory, Natick Soldier Research Development and Engineering Center and the Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center have teamed up with Arizona State University researchers to further advance this technology and come up with innovative solutions for Soldiers in the field.
"Imagine replacing glass-based displays with light-weight, rugged flexible displays using minimal power," DiMichele said. "The lighter the load, the more efficient the warfighter."
Officials said the Army is studying reflective and emissions technology for the screens to be integrated in "human-portable applications," which will let Soldiers see the screen without backlighting. "This will be designed to not give away a location of a Soldier while on a mission," DiMichele said.
By replacing the current liquid crystal glass-based display, the amount of battery power used drops by at least half, and the display is less likely to break while on a mission.
Presently, the industry is flooded with Liquid Crystal Display and plasma screens, all of which are delicate and need to be ruggedized for military use. However, with the development of flexible reflective technology, Soldiers may be able to wear a bendable display device, or roll-up or ultimately fold the display screen, thus increasing Soldier capabilities to carry and convey mission information.
These screens would be used in mission planning and rehearsal, land navigation and to provide the warfighter with the most up-to-date information just prior to departing for a mission.
"The best application would allow Soldiers to connect to a computer database and download information necessary to complete the mission," DiMichele said. "Then the Soldier would disconnect, and retain the information on the device, fold or roll it up and pack it away. These screens could also be worn on the forearm of a military uniform for easy access while in the midst of battle."
Learn more about the technologies on parade at the All-American Bowl Army Strong Zone by bookmarking Army Technology Live.