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In 2004, the Air Force started the Battlefield Air Targeting Man-Aided kNowledge program, better known as BATMAN. Its goal is to make it easier for troops to carry around equipment. Based out of Ohio's Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, as the name suggests, army engineers are to trying to build a better suit for soldiers. Some of the technology is sewn right into their uniform. Some of the features are kind of no-brainers, like red lights on their gloves to help them see when they write at night. One of more popular features of the BATMAN gear is a wrist mount for a tablet or smart phone so soldiers could access everything they need at arms reach.
The BATMAN program also takes advantage of more commercial technologies like Google Glass. They designed a Google Glass system specifically for para-rescue jumpers, with an app to help rescue workers keep track of vital signs on multiple people. It streams real time data like heart rates and blood-oxygen levels of several patients right to screens by their eyes. Some of the tech they're developing seems kind of fun, too, like a real-life Bathook. Since a lot of the new BATMAN technology needs to charge, if their batteries die, the bathook (or the Remote Auxiliary Power System) can be strung up on overhead, low voltage power lines and keep all the field gear up and running. The antennae is placed closer to the torso to improve balance. and batteries are better too. They're lighter by 25 percent because they use methanol as a fuel source. That way the pack gets lighter as the fuel is used. So these advances in technology allow for much easier use and maneuverability than the clunky communication systems of days past.
Air Force Invests in 'Batman' Technologies for Soldiers (Live Science)
"A military program named for and inspired by the superhero Batman is bringing together advanced technologies to equip U.S. Special Forces soldiers for the 21st century."
Air Force's Batman Drops in the Pentagon (Defense Tech)
"The U.S. Air Force is testing dozens of wearable technologies as part of an experimental program nicknamed "Batman." Officials with the Air Force Research Laboratory showed off some of the innovative products during recent exhibition at the Pentagon."