Monday, July 15, 2024

Mission Navigation Belt for hands-free and intuitive haptic navigation for soldiers

The modern soldiers have many technological resources available to carry their mission that seeks to increase their effectiveness, improve navigation systems, among others. However, the devices have some disadvantages. For example, traditional waypoint navigation requires soldiers to regularly peek at their screens or listen to audio feedback. This can be both dangerous and cumbersome. Moreover, screen lights at night and auditory cues may inadvertently betray soldiers’ positions.

To solve these problems, Dutch company Elitac Wearables, in collaboration with the Royal Netherlands Army, has developed the Mission Navigation Belt (MNB), a lightweight belt that allows soldiers to feel waypoint navigation cues through haptic feedback. It keeps soldiers’ hands, eyes, and ears free, allowing them to concentrate fully on their surroundings and mission. Besides, the new equipment will increase the situational awareness of soldiers.

The Mission Navigation Belt (MNB) conveys navigation directions through haptic feedback – vibrational feedback applied to the body. The navigation belt is a lightweight, ergonomic belt that is worn around the waist. It connects to existing GPS-based soldier systems and communicates navigational instructions to the wearer through tiny vibration motors. In this way, it frees soldiers’ hands, eyes, and ears to focus on their surroundings.

Installing the necessary equipment and power supply inside the belt means that it is not necessary to bring any additional belt maintenance equipment.

Mission Navigation Belt makes GPS-based navigation extremely intuitive and allows soldiers to reach their destinations quickly and safely while staying focused on their environments. The MNB can be used to navigate on foot and in vehicles both on land and water. This means the user can change seamlessly from one mode of transportation to another without stopping to navigate. The soldier does not need to be trained to use the tool.