Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Input Devices The Military

RallyPoint — The Computerized Combat Glove 82

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the handling-the-situation dept.
MIT's Technology Review is reporting that a new input device, designed for soldiers, may soon be making an appearance. The "RallyPoint," a glove designed to allow soldiers to easily interact with wearable systems via sensors, could allow soldiers a feature-rich input device without having to put down their weapon. "Some U.S. soldiers in Iraq are already equipped with wearable computer systems. But the lack of efficient input devices restricts their use to safer environments, such as the interior of a Humvee or a base station, where the soldier can set down his weapon and use the keyboard or mouse tethered to his body. Now RallyPoint, a startup based in Cambridge, MA, has developed a sensor-embedded glove that allows the soldier to easily view and navigate digital maps, activate radio communications, and send commands without having to take his hand off his weapon."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

RallyPoint — The Computerized Combat Glove

Comments Filter:
  • Yeah, right (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Soldiers spend most of their time bored and waiting. You know what that glove is really going to be used for.
  • Power Glove (Score:4, Funny)

    by dgaller (849242) on Monday April 28, 2008 @01:47PM (#23227122)
    I love the Power Glove. It's *so* bad.
    • by RatBastard (949)
      Yeah, well, uh, just keep your Power Gloves off her, pal, huh?
    • by khasim (1285)
      With electronic sensors in them.

      Sweat and grime will destroy them faster than they can make them.
      • by Kingrames (858416)
        The first step towards authentic stillsuits.
      • You have to wonder how the business world would succeed without insightful comments from Slashdot.

        Did you seriously think no one at RallyPoint had considered the kind of environment it would be used in? Did they simply forget the last four major battles the US has been involved in? All involved heat, sweat, and things we don't even want to think of.

        Be sure to contact RallyPoint to pickup your pay check for a hard day's work.
        • by foobsr (693224)
          business world would succeed

          At least, it did not succeed with attempts to sell data- or powergloves [wikipedia.org] to gamers.

          Given the general failure (businesswise) of more sophisticated input devices beyond keyboard and mouse there is enough room to be suspicious about the useability of this "new" approach.

          CC.
      • I suppose that the keyboards and other input devices they wear are immune to such environments...
    • I see your power glove an raise you a Tactical Telehaptic Communication device http://blog.wired.com/defense/2008/04/darpa-wants-sol.html [wired.com]
    • I love the Power Glove. It's *so* bad.
      My exact thoughts when reading this. "Finally, I can beat Mike Tyson!"
  • by Brigadier (12956) on Monday April 28, 2008 @01:51PM (#23227210)


    What happened to the days when you told a soldier where to be and who to shoot ? Technology is great and everything, but when your packing this solder down with all this extra equipment. Not to mention forcing him to learn these new complicated systems, at what point does it cease effectiveness. Give him a good weapon, that is light, and that wont fail. Give him a good flap jacket, then give him a good dependable communication device. One that prompts him based on his location, and mission. ie if you turn left instead of right it tells you without the need for some expensive device.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ch-chuck (9622)
      Flap Jacket? What, one of these [countryinthecity.net]?

      How about a flak jacket [cbsnews.com]?

    • by gstoddart (321705) on Monday April 28, 2008 @02:10PM (#23227454) Homepage

      What happened to the days when you told a soldier where to be and who to shoot ?

      Seriously? The complexities of warfare changed. People no long show up in parallel lines and keep shooting at one another until one side mostly kills the other. The other side rarely shows up an the appointed place any more.

      Modern warfare involves people who don't announce their location, forces comprised of several (hopefully) cooperating forces, and a need to try to coordinate more facets. Calling in air strikes, keeping track of your own friendlies, your own location, and other things which change in the battlefield is a lot of stuff. Most conflicts nowadays are asymmetric -- you got big groups of well organized people fighting smaller groups who pop up and then disappear. With coalitions of militaries, fratricide can happen all too easy (and does).

      Technology is great and everything, but when your packing this solder down with all this extra equipment. Not to mention forcing him to learn these new complicated systems, at what point does it cease effectiveness.

      When the people field testing it tell you, in all likelihood. People are trying to give them more information to be more effective at doing their job. How successful and given piece of kit is hard to predict. If it truly proves to be a burden during exercises, it likely gets scrapped.

      Give him a good weapon, that is light, and that wont fail. Give him a good flap jacket, then give him a good dependable communication device. One that prompts him based on his location, and mission. ie if you turn left instead of right it tells you without the need for some expensive device.

      Well, weapons, they got. Flak jackets, they got (unless you meant something made out of pancakes. ;-), they got too. But, how do you give someone something which is capable of knowing where you are, what direction you're supposed to be going in, and all that other neat-o stuff without it being an expensive piece of gear? (At a minimum, a hardened GPS unit is likely not a cheap item. Consumer grade stuff is likely not suitable for military duty.)

      Basically, the more of an advantage you can give your guys, the more you keep them alive and able to continue doing what they do. If you can improve your situational awareness, you get better odds of doing that.

      Cheers
    • by vertinox (846076) on Monday April 28, 2008 @02:19PM (#23227584)
      Not to mention forcing him to learn these new complicated systems, at what point does it cease effectiveness.

      Swords were simpler than muskets.
      Muskets were simpler than bolt action rifles.
      Bolt action rifles were simpler than automatic weapons and so on...

      If you want a real world scenario I think the best would be the designated radio man in German Panzers on the onset of WWII. Radios were complicated and you actually had to train a fellow very well to not understand and maintain the equipment but the language used was also very complicated to learn and understand. Other nations like France and Russia felt this was unneeded and had their tanks communicate line of sight with flags and flares.

      However as history has shown us the German tanks (at least in the early parts of the war) bested both French and Russian tanks due to their superior coordination and fire control even though the early German tanks were often fielded smaller guns and thinner armor.

      Seeing this success US, Russia, and the British quickly adapted radios for all their armored vehicles and were able to beat the Germans at their own game of blitzkreig.

      The point is that if you do specialize in technologies that enhance communication and coordination that you will beat opponents that lack that technology even though they may have superior firepower and numbers.
      • by Duradin (1261418)
        Swords were simpler than muskets.
        Muskets were simpler than bolt action rifles.
        Bolt action rifles were simpler than automatic weapons and so on...

        Not to nitpick, but you've got a lot of those backwards.

        Swords take a lot of training. Bludgeoning weapons or spears would have been a better example. The common footman didn't get a sword, those were usually reserved for the professionals.

        Muskets were popular because with some training you could grab a schmuck out of a field, run him through some drills and when p
        • by vertinox (846076)
          Swords take a lot of training. Bludgeoning weapons or spears would have been a better example. The common footman didn't get a sword, those were usually reserved for the professionals.

          Yes, maybe the longbow or pike would be a better example, but I was more on the lines that you have less of a problem with misfires with a musket (rain, spring problems, or general dirtiness) than a plain old sword which still can kill people with minimal training on a rainy day.
          • by Eskarel (565631)
            Actually that's not true, proper training with a long bow took more than a decade(quite a long time given life expectancies at the time).

            The first guns were terrible things, unreliable, dangerous, etc, but when one blew up and killed the operator you could train up someone else very quickly.

            The same is true of swords, using a sword, or for that matter any melee weapon is actually quite complicated unless you happen to be 7 feet tall, 200 kilos of pure muscle and using it to bludgeon people to death, and eve

            • by WillAdams (45638)
              Yep. Training w/ a longbow was so involved that one King of England (Henry VII?) actually outlawed the creation of games for boys aged ~8--12 so that they'd spend their spare time practicing archery.

              William

      • by Hasmanean (814562)

        Swords were simpler than muskets.
        Muskets were simpler than bolt action rifles.
        Bolt action rifles were simpler than automatic weapons and so on...

        Yes, but killing someone with a musket is easier than killing them with a sword
        Killing someone with a rifle...

        Concomitant to killing your enemy easier, each new weapon also increased the odds of your own survival.

        Ease of use is only secondary on the battlefield. Winning is everything, along with survival.

      • However as history has shown us the German tanks (at least in the early parts of the war) bested both French and Russian tanks due to their superior coordination and fire control even though the early German tanks were often fielded smaller guns and thinner armor.

        Seeing this success US, Russia, and the British quickly adapted radios for all their armored vehicles and were able to beat the Germans at their own game of blitzkreig.

        At this point in time, I think the American procurement process is so fucked up that we're losing the ability to innovate effectively. The French had some very able minds but the weapons they came up with were hopeless, about as bad as the Italians. I can't remember whether the battleship submarine was a French or Italian design, it had multi-gun turrets like a frickin' cruiser. There were plenty of flawed aircraft concepts on all sides such as the "destroyer aircraft." This concept would be for a twin-eng

    • then give him a good dependable communication device. One that prompts him based on his location, and mission. ie if you turn left instead of right it tells you without the need for some expensive device.

      It is a communication device. Wireless radio did a lot for comminications of foot troops, but it can be limited for an individual solider by a need for stealth, irrelevant chatter, and bad location guesses. Think if it as a twitter interface which will automatically insert GPS data. I could see messages like:

      • suspicious person [location]
      • Face time with 'friendly' merchant [location]
      • House search, normal [location]
      • House search, danger [location]
      • Following armed man [location]
      • Following shooter [locatio
      • by peragrin (659227)
        Of all the land warrior gear, that information is what is still being used. the gun mounted camera's are normally stripped off. but the ability to digital mark buildings as cleared, as well as have command know exactly where each squad is and able to coordinate each squad together is a huge help.

        Communications enhances abilities, and more importantly tactics. Squad 1 is under fire, Squad B is closer but on the wrong side of several walls. Squad D while much farther away however only needs to walk around
        • by Stickney (715486)
          This is already in place, through the FBCB2/BlueForceTracker systems. Almost every deployed vehicle in the Army has it. The problem is getting people trained, proficient, and motivated to use it.
    • by pheonix (14223)

      What happened to the days when you told a soldier where to be and who to shoot ?
      In my day we wore onions on our belts!
  • If it's all the same to you, I'd just as soon keep my trigger-finger unencumbered...
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by zappepcs (820751)
      Yeah, and it makes you wonder... a glove with sensors? hmmmm wonder what flying the bird will blow up? oh oh oh, can they make like a toy gun with their fingers and shoot at stuff and have the .50 call on top of the humv fire?

      This could be fun... point your finger for a few seconds of lead on target, then flip a bird and watch the RPGs go flying?
    • It made me imagine soldiers NOT putting down their guns while trying to navigate through some menu system... and fervently hope that:

      1. they're not in a Humvee or other enclosed space while doing this

      and

      2. Their weapons do not have bayonets on them.

      I can imagine enemy troops could get mighty confused by this though... guy has his gun trained on them, and then suddenly starts waving it all over the place swearing at his HUD because he couldn't get the current location to fix properly on his GPS tracking syst
      • by megaditto (982598)

        How do you press Control-Alt-Delete on a RallyPoint?
        Perhaps you could adapt the Shocker to be your new three-finger salute.
  • by javakah (932230) on Monday April 28, 2008 @01:52PM (#23227230)
    Squeezing with your trigger finger is the new Alt-F4!
  • RallyPoint has a "very clever design and has actually created something practical by focusing on a particular domain--the military," says Kortuem.

    Translation: "Nobody other than the military had money to waste on this."

    Really, there are too many demands on gloves and hands already to burden them with this. Sew this into jackets, arm bands, wrist bands, whatever, but not into gloves.
    • by HTH NE1 (675604)

      Really, there are too many demands on gloves and hands already to burden them with this. Sew this into jackets, arm bands, wrist bands, whatever, but not into gloves.
      Or, I don't know, build it into the grip(s) of the gun? I mean, if it's important they not take their hands off the weapon...?
  • All the UAVs grounded. Everyone huddled in bunkers. Glove has high cool factor. Real benefit vs cost = low.
  • Works Great (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jmkaza (173878) on Monday April 28, 2008 @02:02PM (#23227370)
    I did something similar this winter. I discovered that an iPod Shuffle fits perfectly in my snowboarding glove, and was able to easily navigate through my collection on the move. No more stopping, taking a glove off, pulling my iPod out, finding a song, then putting everything back together again. Four push button sensors could easily provide a great detail of capability with extremely limited encumbrance.
  • "Can this be used for porn?" Gotta be able to keep my hands free.
  • that most of the breakthroughs in human history are due to our "need"? to develop better weapons and counterweapons
  • get hairy when you use it too much for the "entertainment" taking 90% of your harddrive ;)?
  • ... from its other uses. If they create a waterproof version, you will no longer have to take your hands off your "weapon" when cybering on IRC. Profit!
  • Can I toggle weapons and view my inventory with the glove too? Because if I can just toggle from say my M4 to my usp it would be extremely helpful when entering a close combat situation, where my M4 is too large to just poke around corners.
  • Anyway.. what happened to the "kick their ass" approach, what really makes military the military. That real ancient war glory as we got from vikings with chewing their shields to the blood, their blood and the war hystery and going berserk?
    As a 100 level paladin I must say that these new super-devices are all moot. You have your sword or m16/m4, you should act like a soldier either to die and or to resurrect. Anyway, I think from the safety of my mom basement that we should drop all weapons and use lightswo
  • Sure... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by superdan2k (135614) on Monday April 28, 2008 @02:40PM (#23227890) Homepage Journal
    ...and as a former soldier, let me just say that when your UI works without me taking my eyes off my environment, then I'll be interested. Lack of data is survivable. Lack of attention isn't.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by swillden (191260)

      Lack of data may be survivable. Lack of attention isn't.

      Fixed that for you.

    • by greenbird (859670) *

      Lack of data is survivable. Lack of attention isn't.

      This is just plain wrong. The proper data tells you where to focus your attention. Without that data you have to spread your attention over a much larger set of inputs thus taking it off of the critical point. Being able to always focus your attention on the exact right point is by far the most survivable. This holds true for the reduced mobility the extra equipment causes. Good intelligence more than makes up for being a little bit slower because all your movements are focused on being in the correct loc

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Stickney (715486)
        Are you kidding me?! In a firefight, you "focus" your attention on as much as you can take in at once. All the intelligence in the world doesn't matter if you can't see the people shooting at you from 30, 50, 100 meters away. You should _never_ focus your attention on just one "critical point" if you want to survive. Situational awareness means that you know _everything_ that is going on around you, which you can't do if you're staring at a monitor with your fingers on a keyboard.

        As a side note, I've never
        • by greenbird (859670) *

          Are you kidding me?! In a firefight, you "focus" your attention on as much as you can take in at once. All the intelligence in the world doesn't matter if you can't see the people shooting at you from 30, 50, 100 meters away.

          You see, your fighting the last war. With proper intelligence you'll know exactly where the people are before they start shooting at you. Lots of tools are being developed to supply detailed tactical information on the battlefield. The problem is that information has to go directly to the grunts to be useful. It's extremely time critical. If it takes more than minutes, in some cases seconds, to get to them it's less than useless. You're trying to tell me that being able to glance at a convenient monitor t

          • by Stickney (715486)

            "You're talking about traditional military intelligence here. It's tactically useless."

            Yes, that's _exactly_ my point. No, I'm not retired, and yes, I understand your position... I'm currently in a department that has produced friendly-target IR recognition capability vests, mortar proximity warning devices to be attached to LBVs, and a device that can give soldiers the general direction of a sniper based on only the audio signature of rounds fired, all within the last four or five years. I know that the

      • I'm not discounting the need for intel. I'm a big fan of the "big picture." What I'm not a fan of is monkeying around with a software UI while the bullets are flying. My eyes are my primary intel-gathering source. If you need to give me more data, speak into my ear and respond to my voice.
  • Everyone here seems to be panning this thing. I'm waiting to see what happens when this expensive military tech becomes more cost-effective, slimmed-down, and works its way into the civilian marketplace.

    Imagine a glove like this that would talk to your car via bluetooth so you could manipulate anything on the dashboard, from radio to GPS nav system without taking eyes off the road and hands off the wheel.

    Imagine a worker in a manufacturing plant controlling robots and assembly lines from a computer h
    • by sconeu (64226)

      Imagine a glove like this that would talk to your car via bluetooth so you could manipulate anything on the dashboard, from radio to GPS nav system without taking eyes off the road and hands off the wheel.
      You've been listening to The Doors [wikipedia.org] again, haven't you.
    • by cliffski (65094)
      Well I have the ability to control every aspect of the hi fi in my car with my finegrtips on the control stick thing whilst still holding the wheel. Rather than using any supra-high-tech-military-glove-interface, they just stick the buttons near the steering wheel.
      Seems to work perfectly, and is likely way cheaper than wearing some 'data glove'
      • by Sun.Jedi (1280674)
        Maybe they should integrate the rifle [or weapon of choice], and put input keys on the grips, instead of wasting time with a busted wii controller sewn into a glove.
  • they developed a wearable computer system...gave them to all the soldiers...and never bothered to come up with an input method? They were just strapping keyboards to these guys? Who the hell came up with that great idea?
  • how many times I've passed by the parked policy car, only seeing the policeman player solitair on his PC.

    well, now they can keep their hands on a wheel *and* play solitair too.
  • Nintendo tried this [wikipedia.org] almost 20 years ago and it was just as terrible an idea then.

    Squeezing finger combinations and gesturing simply isn't intuitive enough to be an effective interface to a computer. And even if you were to somehow master the clunky interface, I think cell phones have taught us that while it is possible to multi-task, the decrease in quality makes it no longer worth it. In a combat setting, this idea is just silly.
  • Hmmmm. I can see it now...

    *scratch balls*

    (AIR-STRIKE SUMMONED)
  • Cant go against millenia of technological development to make the better killing machine. There is a type of elegance associated with the arm-band terminal that a glove would just not offer. Problem is, they tend to blow themselvesup before we get a real good look at a working unit.

    Oh well....

Life. Don't talk to me about life. - Marvin the Paranoid Anroid

Working...