Tech marvels aside, here’s the important bit:
The headset is impressive — better than any augmented reality experience I’ve ever seen, including Magic Leap, which also tried to win the Army contract. The project is also a showcase for the Army’s plans to work more closely with America’s tech companies to speed innovation in military.
For decades, anyone who wanted to win a military contract had to jump through hoops in a process that could take five to seven years just for the military to decide what it wanted. It would sometimes take 20 years for a product to hit the field, according to the Army. And the process rarely involved the troops who actually ended up using that technology.
A lot has changed.
There’s a new Futures Command based in Austin, Texas. It allows tech companies, from small start-ups all the way up to America’s biggest firms, to work directly with the military’s leadership and soldiers to bring new technology to the battlefield.
The Navy said in September that the new submarines would come equipped with a pair of photonics masts, which replace the previously-used periscope. The masts feature high-resolution cameras that can rotate 360 degrees and feeds their imagery to monitors in the ship’s control room. Initially, the masts were controlled with a “helicopter-style stick,” but those were described as heavy and clunky, and were swapped out with an Xbox 360 controller.
According to the Colorado’s commanding officer, Commander Reed Koepp, using off-the-shelf technology saves the Navy money, while the controller is already intuitive for the submarine’s sailors.
More stories like these, please.