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Top 5 Gadgets on the High-tech Soldier

        Science | Soldiers

3
Wrist-mounted Display
This flexible screen will be the foundation of a wrist-mounted computer that's capable of absorbing a tremendous amount of abuse.
This flexible screen will be the foundation of a wrist-mounted computer that's capable of absorbing a tremendous amount of abuse.

Carrying a lot of high-tech equipment has its downsides. One device may come with several accessories, and all of them have accompanying chargers, too. That's why the Army hopes to condense several gadgets into one wrist computer.

With the help of HP Labs, the Army Research Laboratory is working on just such a computer, which should weigh only about half a pound (227 grams). The foundation of the device is its flexible 2 by 3-inch (5 by 7.6-centimeter) screen [source: Cooper]. The device employs a very thin layer of transistors that work with an electronic screen, which changes data signals into grayscale images.

HP uses its technology to stamp the electronics and screen components directly into bendable plastic. Minus a traditional (and very breakable) glass backing, the device will withstand abuse and still work flawlessly. The displays will also use less power than normal, thus reducing the need for constant recharging sessions.

Affixed to a soldier's wrist, the display will become a hub for sending and receiving vital information via data and radio transmissions, among other tasks. And, like so many devices dreamed up for the military, this one will definitely have plenty of commercial uses, too -- everything from floppy e-books, to stretchy cell phones, to TV screens that you can roll up and carry in your gym bag.

Current versions of the display are monochrome. However, a color version is in the works.