Marines will soon use augmented reality tech that's basically Google Glass with a gun

Contributed by
Apr 23, 2015

Despite the fact that Google Glass was kind of a failure, a lot of folks still believe augmented reality tech is the way of the future. It seems the U.S. Marines are also in that group. 

Popular Science reports the Office of Naval Research (ONR) is developing a new Augmented Reality (AR) Glasses project that could truly change the face of warfare. The tech is conceived to allow soldiers in the field to access vital statistics, zoom in on enemies and switch over to live feed cameras mounted on other soldiers (i.e. the friendly sniper giving them cover and a bird’s-eye view from a nearby building), all while in the field.

The San Francisco-based Osterhout Design Group is involved in developing the technology behind the display and hardware, and military officials say it should be a boon for “situational awareness” when it comes to soldiers in the field. Working versions have already been demonstrated, and the concept was born following brainstorming sessions with seasoned soldiers who offered recommendations on info they’d like to be able to access live.

Developers say the heads-up display should also help limit distractions for soldiers in the field, who can sometimes be shuffling between laptops, radios and handheld devices. By rolling all that info into a headset where it’s layered over a soldier’s view of the surroundings, it could give them access to necessary intel without pushing their eyes into a screen.

But that doesn’t mean every soldier will soon be rocking a bulky pair of super-shades. They’re currently very expensive ($20,000 for some high-end prototypes), and the reliability and durability still need to be tested. Plus, they’re bulky and could actually get in the way during something as chaotic and active as a firefight. 

Despite the drawbacks, you’d have to think this tech will eventually become commonplace, though we might be in the 2.0 or 3.0 level by that point. What do you think? What’s the future of augmented reality tech?

(Via Popular Science)

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