“Hi Mom.  Can I call you back? I’m in the middle of a fire fight.”  I cannot say that is something that will never happen, after all, the truth is always stranger than fiction, but I can see this phone call happening some point in the future.  The solider would probably say, “Busy mom, I’ll call you back” as explosions and bullets are flying around.  But, the little dialouge is a way of announcing that the Army is bringing the smart phone to the battlefield (from TheWeek.com).

How will smartphones help soldiers in combat?
By letting all troop levels access real-time intelligence, including photos from aerial drones and constantly updated maps showing the location of friends and enemies. The Army has also developed an “augmented reality” app for the iPhone called Soldier Eyes, which could help soldiers see hidden dangers and other information by looking at the landscape through their phone’s camera.

Using the smart phone and the Army’s private battlefield network, soldiers will be able to get access to battlefield information quickly.  They will know where their comrades are via GPS, they will have access to up to date maps, and I imagine, live recon from drones flying overhead.  Smart phones are getting smarter, and in a few years, smart phones will have nanotechnology sensors that can detect biological and chemical weapons, and maybe even explosives.  Instead of looking at a street, they can look through the camera and see the overlay of information that is on the screen informing soliders of things they need to know. 

Some people may ask, what happens if one of the phones is captured or stolen?  iPhones and Androids do have remote wipe capability now.  I am sure the Army will insist that this security measure be taken.  For years, the military has looked to bring computers onto the battlefield to help soldiers see the battlefield.  But computers, back then, were too bulky.  With a smart phone, that bulk is taken away.  Again, thanks to nanotechnology.  When soliders move to full helmets and body armor, I imagine this will be projected as a HUD on the inside of the helmet. Right now, the plan is to let soliders pick either iPhones or Droid phones – but the army says other phones can be considered – they just all need to plug into the same network.

Mark Viquesney