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Combat Tactile Jacket

Information is power for common man. However, for soldiers information is life, as their survival depends on information. Battle is seldom won by sheer overpowering force; the side that has the best intelligence can gather more accurate information and thus focus their efforts on areas where they can get the most impact. Their survival depends on not just the information, but on the communication of information among soldiers, and it is critical for their survival.

In a calm environment the current communication media such as visual and auditory may work very well, but amidst the chaos of battle field these systems are not suitable. This paper explores the use of tactile sense for communication among soldiers in a military context in general, and the combat equipped dismounted soldier in particular. The shoulder is used as input organ and we characterized the vibrotactile sensitivity through psychophysical experiments. A suitable type of tactor is identified and shoulder pads have been designed to hold the tactors closely to the shoulder. An off-the shelf-wireless kit has been used to communicate with another CTJ. A tactile language or message code has been designed specifically for communication among soldiers, and a button box, fitted in CTJ, is used to select a message and communicate with others.

The error of detection of vibration threshold measured in the shoulder is shown in the following figure.

Usability experiments were conducted to find the perception of vibrotactile with CTJ. The experiments and surveys have proved that an artifact like combat tactile jacket can become useful in a military context. The technology used in CTJ could be scaled to many other applications such as navigation, virtual reality, and entertainment.


  1. R.Mann, M.Manivannan, Combat Tactile jacket, International Conference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics, Jan 2007

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Last Updated: May 26, 2008 4:45 PM Comments: Manivannan M