Cutting-edge consumer technology that once seemed possible only in science-fiction films now is in the hands of experts and innovators working to solve government challenges. From wearable mobile devices to a sensor that lets you control your screen with the wave of a hand or lift of a finger, these tools could one day be key to serving soldiers in the field.
Thermopylae Sciences and Technology, based in Arlington, Virginia, is one defense contractor pushing the technology envelope to apply commercial solutions to government problems. By participating in the Google Glass Foundry and Explorer programs, which make technology available to early adopters, the company recently acquired several pairs of Google glasses. Through this program and partnerships with other technology companies, Thermopylae now is experimenting with how wearable computers could integrate with its current and future products.
“What we’re able to do is to start prototyping and working with these devices in conjunction with the tools and technology we’re developing for actual government programs,” John-Isaac Clark, chief innovation officer for Thermopylae, says. As part of the Google Glass effort, “We can get early access to some of these technology improvements and then wonder … how might this technology let me interact with the user in a different way altogether?”
Clark, brother of Thermopylae President A.J. Clark, is a self-proclaimed geek and wears the glasses up to eight hours per day to explore the capabilities. While Google focuses on the commercial and consumer product spaces, Clark believes Google Glass sheds light on the potential for wearable computers in the military realm. “Eventually, while it is incredibly unlikely to be Google Glass, a soldier will have something like this.”