Elitac Wearables B.V. announced today that it has delivered the first order of Mission Navigation Belts to the Royal Netherlands Army. The Mission Navigation Belt (MNB) allows soldiers to feel waypoint navigation directions through small, quiet vibration motors, located in a lightweight belt worn around the waist. The order is part of a wider initiative by the Netherlands Ministry of Defense to improve situational awareness and survivability through the application of new technologies.
Traditional navigation compromises situational awareness because it requires soldiers to take their focus away from their surroundings to check screens or maps, or listen to audio instructions. The Mission Navigation Belt solves this problem by conveying navigation cues through haptic feedback and the under-utilised sense of touch. This way, it frees up soldiers’ hands, eyes and ears to concentrate on their surroundings. Modern soldiers have access to incredible, hi-tech navigation systems, but these all require soldiers to keep checking their screens constantly. This makes an already dangerous job even more dangerous because it reduces situational awareness.
The Mission Navigation Belt is fully compatible and interoperable with the VOSS system (the improved operational soldier system developed for the Netherlands Ministry of Defense). Its design really pushes the boundaries when it comes to integrating electronics and textiles, as the belt had to be robust, comfortable, and, most importantly, reliable. The field tests conducted by the Royal Netherlands Army demonstrate that the Netherlands Ministry of Defense have indeed achieved that. It is rewarding to think that soldiers wearables will help keep soldiers safer.
As experts on haptic feedback and the integration of textiles and electronics, Elitac Wearables collaborates with partners to develop wearables from idea to successful products. The company focuses on wearables that add real value and has developed several solutions for the defense, safety, medical and sports markets. Teijin Smart Safety is an expert team within the Teijin Group that is focusing on safety, security and disaster mitigation solutions towards end-users. The team leads the development and commercialization of active & intelligent safety solutions in order to improve the personal safety & protection of professionals working under high stress or in hazardous environments.