- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 26, 2016

Life-or-death situations on future battlefields may depend on a soldier’s ability to navigate “Augmented Reality” systems while simultaneously engaging enemies.

Attendees at the 2016 Special Operations Forces Industry Conference in Tampa, Florida, have seen a preview of technology that future troops will access while in war zones. The Augmented Reality system (AR), will overlay important digital information over surrounding environments to give U.S. troops a leg up on adversaries.

Harris and Dave Roberts at Applied Research Associates showed The Washington Post’s Thomas Gibbons-Neff one of its AR devices, a camera that can be mounted to a soldier’s helmet. The system allows users to see grid coordinates, nearby aircraft, allied positions and, eventually, live footage from drones above.

The current iteration of AR is somewhat bulky, has a short battery life, and is only available for use at night, the newspaper reported Thursday. Future advances in technology will address those issues and allow for a more durable system that stands up to various combat environments.

Tim White, a spokesman for Mr. Harris, told The Post that its AR will likely be issued to leaders operating in vehicles and farther away from the front lines for the time being.

The 2016 conference kicked off May 23 and wraps Thursday. This year’s theme was “Evolving the Network to Counter Emerging Threats.” The event offers military officials, government employees, academics and members of the defense industry to network and discuss the best ways to support global special operations forces.

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