As our communications devices migrate from being things that we carry to things that we wear, the U.S. military seems poised to embrace this change with technology that could be integrated into the uniforms of soldiers of the future.
Although the fiber optic-like threads could eventually transmit information, the fibers do not have any transistors, processors or circuitry.
“These are new kinds of fibers that are themselves devices,”
Joannopoulos says the millimeter-thick fibers are too thick for a uniform and that he wants to scale them down to 100 microns, which he and his team at the Army’s Soldier Systems Center hope to achieve over the next 10 years as they refine and design the concept further.
“Your uniform would transit that information. You wouldn’t be talking, it would transmit information: who you are, what time you went down, where the wounds are, what is the estimated severity of the wound, et cetera,”. “The idea with these fibers is that eventually, we’d like to enable full-body sensing for the soldier.”