Army wants to distill battlefield situational awareness from soldier-worn sensors and computers

FORT MONMOUTH, N.J., 16 Dec. 2006. U.S. Army researchers are proceeding with a project to develop a small package of electronics for soldiers to wear on combat missions to report back important information for commanders to gain a better understanding of the quickly changing battlefield.

FORT MONMOUTH, N.J., 16 Dec. 2006. U.S. Army researchers are proceeding with a project to develop a small package of electronics for soldiers to wear on combat missions to report back important information for commanders to gain a better understanding of the quickly changing battlefield.

The overall project is called the Advanced Soldier Sensor Information System and Technology (ASSIST), which the Army is pursuing together with the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Va.

Systems Research and Applications (SRA) Corp. in Fairfax, Va., won a $5 million contract increment Dec. 7 to develop the ASSIST program's Tactical Ground Reporting Network. Awarding the contract were officials of the Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) at Fort Monmouth, N.J.

The ASSIST program is to demonstrate integrated system technologies for processing, digitizing, and reporting information from soldier-worn sensors to enhance battlefield awareness.

The idea is to enable foot soldiers to report key observations and experiences over a network. Today's verbal and text-based reports are limiting, and sometimes loses or does not capture critical information, DARPA experts point out.

In addition to voice and text reporting, the ASSIST program will use existing soldier-worn sensors such as small digital camera, microphone, GPS receiver, computer, and hard disk. The system then will log and process the data to create digital reports and representations.

The ASSIST program is developing a prototype wearable data capture unit and software consisting of small digital camera, microphone, GPS, processor, and local storage. With this, the soldier on patrol or a scout mission could gather still images or video annotated with a few spoken words or sentences. Ultimately the system would distill the information into multimedia representations and digital reports.

SRA experts will do the work on the latest contract in Fairfax, Va., and will be finished by December 2007. For more information contact SRA online at www.sra.com.

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