Does Sarah Conner live here?

The General Dynamics Itronix GD300 Rugged Wearable Computer may not help you navigate Vault City, but it certainly should help ground infantry troops stay alive -- and General Dynamics chose Android as the OS for this wearable combat computer. 

What it is -- a very specialized GPS device, that has connectivity to tactical communications on the US armed forces secure network.  Glad to see that the military sees the value in Android, and maybe another manufacturer will make a version for the outdoorsman.  /ME wants an Android PipBoy.  The full press release is after the break.  [DefenseReview] Thanks Cory!

New Android-Based General Dynamics Itronix GD300 Rugged Wearable Computer/Secure Radio Enables Unprecedented GPS and Situational Awareness in the Battlespace for Infantry Warfighters
 

SUNRISE, Fla., — Aug. 3 — Combining commercial global positioning and communications technology with battlefield-rugged computing, General Dynamics Itronix is introducing the GD300 fully rugged arm- or chest-worn computer. Weighing less than 8 ounces, the Android™-based GD300 operates like an ultra-sensitive commercial GPS unit or, with the click of a cable, interfaces with tactical radios like the Rifleman Radio (AN/PRC-154) for secure access to the tactical network. The GD300 uses a quadra-helix antenna for real-time global positioning that defies interference even when the user is positioned in mountainous regions or urban environments.

“The GD300 is a game-changing computer that will save lives,” said Mike DiBiase, vice president of Computing Technologies for General Dynamics C4 Systems. “We expect the GD300 will become the most important 8 ounces of tactical communications and situational awareness equipment that a warfighter can carry.”

The GD300 hosts the open architecture, Android™-based operating system to easily accommodate current and emerging applications for warfighters at all command levels. Operating in two distinct modes, the GD300 serves as a stand-alone GPS device or, when connected to a tactical radio, performs as a tactical mission computer. The GD300 supports commercially available standalone applications or military “apps” like the Tactical Ground Reporting (TIGR) System which is currently in use by the military.

When connected to a tactical radio, the lightweight GD300 enables warfighters to securely communicate, share information and collaborate while on the move. Delivering up to eight hours of continuous operation, the lightweight GD300 is powered by standard lithium-ion batteries.

Reginald Daniels, an engineer for the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory responsible for testing military wearable computers, said, “Given that the dismounted warfighter’s job is not a computer operator, it is imperative that wearable computers be unobtrusive, intuitive to operate and provide compute-on-the-go functions.”

The GD300’s sleek ergonomic design was the result of input and feedback from wearable-computer users from the military, government and emergency first responders. The GD300 includes a sunlight readable display and functional control buttons typically found on any Android-based device. The 3.5-inch touch-screen display lets warfighters move information around, zoom in or out or place digital ‘markers’ on tactical maps with the touch of a gloved finger. Comfortably fitting in an adult’s hand, the computer fully meets MIL-STD 810G specifications for ruggedness.

 
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General Dynamics to use Android for next-gen wearable military computer

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I'm actually surprised by this. It's been awhile since I worked in the defense industry but the military wasn't generally one to embrace something so new OS/architecture-wise. It would have been awesome to work on something to run on this instead of the old rugged laptops I worked on stuff for.

It's interesting seeing the progression of battlefield computers. I joined the Army in 1998, right around they time they started installing "portable" tactical computers in HMMWVs, and I was responsible for the radio and cryptography equipment they used. Throughout 2000-2002 we saw a small explosion of computer hardware being installed on site, in vehicles and even on artillery and in tanks. There wasn't a "wearable" computer at the time, but there were some nice rugged portables we used (Panasonic Toughbooks in their heyday).

Back then they were running Solaris with a stripped-down GUI for mapping and battlefield planning; they switched to OpenSolaris later on. Now Android seems like the natural next step with its architecture and security, and since it's an extremely powerful OS that runs on relatively modest hardware, it's perfect for tactical portability.

I would totally take an Android-powered PipBoy. Hehe, someone should make that as a mod for Fallout: New Vegas. That would be completely entertaining.