Safe & Sound @ E14-CLEWE @ #2_Introduction:”The Science.”
In blog #1 the concept of this project and how the word clue and its origins from Middle English clewe and Ariadne’s thread were shared.
In #2 I would like to discuss the actual science I looked at for planning the implementation. There is of course a wide variety of wearable technology in use today but I tried to focus more on the capability of field use that could apply across the board to a variety of audience.
(The reasoning behind the introductory posts is to provide interesting information and potentially receive solid feedback/suggestions from other members while waiting for the actual hardware kits to be delivered and the project to move to assembly and testing.)
The United States Military has been testing this technology and provides some interesting news articles on what they have found, like and actually use.
U.S. Air Force:
(The Air Force implementation of wearable technology makes me think of a Batman Meme.)
While I assume that was not their intent, their B.A.T.M.A.N. program does stick in your memory with its name. Standing for Battlefield Air Targeting Man-Aided kNowledge it brings to mind some type of interface system capable of calling upon the Batwing or maybe even a BatDrone strike. Maybe a cool combination of Iron Man’s Jarvis interfaced through Batman’s Utility Belt?
http://www.airforce-technology.com/news/newsusaf-launches-batman-programme-4831378 talks about their B.A.T.D.O.K . (Battlefield Airmen Trauma Distributed Observation Kits) program that sounds quite interesting for monitoring multiple patients in the field for quick triage and support. Up to 5 patients can be wirelessly monitored by one medic with the connected smart devices.
The Air Force prefers going with a smartphone wrist mount over a chest mounted larger laptop. To assist in this they have employed a specially designed wrist mount system.
While the BATDOK definitely sounds capable and cool for field use I am not sure it would pull in a BatDrone Air Strike. I do like the wrist mount location for easy access and the fact it forces you to limit weight and bulkiness.
Next I looked at the U.S. Army and their Nett Warrior (NW) program. They define it as an integrated dismounted leader situational awareness (SA) system for use during combat operations.
Instead of Wrist mounted the Army has been going with Chest mounted computers with various accessories (radios, batteries, etc…) mounted in other locations on the torso.
This type of carrying system allows for considerable flexibility in carrying various mission specific types of equipment but can quickly reach a point of being unbearable weight/load wise for the soldier.
While intriguing in a long term project plan and definitely more along the lines of allowing an Iron Man/Jarvis interface I believe that this carrying method would not meet the intent of this project.
In an interesting white paper titled "Advancements in Wearable Computing Solutions Aid JTAC Missions" offered some key factors for consideration:
- A more ergonomic solution for providing the Human Machine Interface (HMI) for the dismounted user is critical
- The system must fit into and within existing equipment including packs, body armor, radios, ammunition, hydration, tools, etc.
- Provisions for modular solutions in which COTS hardware can be packaged “in the box” should be made.
- Size, weight, power, performance and price are key performance parameters. Careful balance of these parameters is essential to optimize the best possible solution for the war fighter.
Non Military Implementation:
On the civilian side of technology there are a couple of Wrist Mounted devices that are used in warehousing and similar active occupations.
Zebra has their latest model, the WT6000
Aside from the embarrassingly obnoxious advertising in the video above you do get to see how the device fits and coordinates with accessories. Not like handbags and shoes, but scanner rings and actual linked accessories. Accessorizing fashion items will not be covered with this project, sorry.
There are more devices out there like the Rufus Cuff from Rufus Labs:
All very interesting ideas for their specific roles and maybe someday adaption and more interest will drive these devices to be tuned to provide more general and adaptable options for everyday use among everyone.
So now into my specific plan for this Challenge, the Element 14 – Custom Logging Explorer Wrist Equipped device:
- First and foremost will be a GPS logging device that is easily accessible by checking your wrist similar to a large watch. This is NOT part of the existing kit and will be added separately.
- With the sensors provided by the Element 14 challenge additional information such as Temperature, humidity and potential Compass display will be incorporated.
- Networking such as Wifi and Bluetooth will be enabled to allow communication to other devices. Kit provided.
- Ability to act as a watch and provide current time/date. GPS provided.
- Battery portability. This will require some testing on my part to best fit the lightest battery while still allowing for extended functionality.
- Custom enclosure, to provide as comfortable wrist wear as possible.
Additional Potential options depending on time limitations and success of primary goals in no particular priority order:
- LED light source to act as flashlight.
- Laser pointer light source to assist in remotely pointing to items out of reach.
- Custom enclosure adapted to allow module accessories to further custom your carrying load depending on planned needs.
- Basic survival items such as fire starter, water pills, fishing line, etc… in Modular addition.
- Programming to work with the GPS data logging and allow Return to Home feature back tracking along the stored GPS route. Follow the Digital Thread to safety!
- Programming to custom set various waypoints such as Base Camp. Archaeological site 1. Dinosaur Dig 2. Etc…
- Data dump to something like Google Maps to show path traveled.
- Nerf dart module.
- Oxygen quality sensor.
Dream level Potential options to be planned for depending on success of project and interest of E14 Members:
- Communication between multiple C.L.E.W.E.s to allow tracking on screen via individual GPS in relation to each device. Useful from the great outdoors to Disneyland to Paintball Team strategy!
- Communication between users of the devices and possibly other emergency communication.
- Camera to take a picture and log with GPS location.
I have children ranging from Elementary school age to adult College age that are very willing to assist me in the testing phases and offer insight into the usability of the device and what other unknown features may be of benefit to the project. The nerf module was proposed and voted for by my team of volunteers as a desired addition.
Currently I am researching the best options for GPS add on boards and waiting for the kit to arrive. Please feel free to share experiences with GPS add on boards that might work with the T.I. MCU.