Pentagon Co-Operates With Apple, Boeing For Wearable Tech

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US military announces funding and seeks wearable partnerships deals with the likes of Apple and Boeing

The Pentagon is investing into a high tech venture that aims to develop electronics and sensors for wearable applications.

Overall, the US military is set to cough up $75m (£49m) over the next five years, with the private sector and academia to add a further $96m (£63m) worth of funding.

High Tech Venture

eurofighter eads military aircraft plane defence © Graham Taylor ShutterstockThe investment will be used by a consortium of companies called the Flexible Hybrid Electronic Institute, which is led by the California-based FlexTech Alliance.

In total 162 companies, universities and other groups make up the consortium. The Pentagon has teamed up with the likes of Apple, Boeing, Harvard University, Stanford, MIT, and Lockheed Martin.

These companies will seek to develop “new technology that aims to use high-end printing technologies to create stretchable electronics that could be embedded with sensors and worn by soldiers,” Reuters quoted a defence official as saying.

“I’ve been pushing the Pentagon to think outside our five-sided box and invest in innovation here in Silicon Valley and in tech communities across the country,” Defence Secretary Ashton Carter in a speech. “Now we’re taking another step forward.”

“Flexible hybrid electronics manufacturing describes the innovative production of electronics and sensors packaging through new techniques in electronic device handling and high precision printing on flexible, stretchable substrates,” said the Pentagon.

“The potential array of products range from wearable devices to improved medical health monitoring technologies, and will certainly increase the variety and capability of sensors that already interconnect the world,” it said. “The technologies promise dual use applications in both the consumer economy and the development of military solutions for the warfighter.”

The Pentagon’s thinking here is that any new wearable kit and as well as high tech sensors, could be used for soldiers, fighter planes, and even warships.

Tech Push

It is no secret that the Pentagon has been looking to the tech industry to help in the development of new equipment and weapons.

The advent of cyber warfare has also meant that the military has had to confront technology and its increasingly important role in national security.

In March this year, the Pentago called for future weapon platforms to be secured against any form of cyber intrusion, to mitigate the alarming prospect of hackers seizing control of American weapon systems.

And the Pentagon has previously warned the US military has the right to retaliate with military force against a cyber-attack.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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