Looking beyond Google Glass: IARPA plots new generation of wearables

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WHAT: The intelligence community is looking beyond Google Glass and the Fitbit to a future that might make James Bond green with envy. The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) is looking to spur development on a new generation of wearables that combine advanced sensor technology, long battery life and ease of concealment to provide a host of new observational capabilities.

WHY: Wearables have the potential to provide new visibility for defense and espionage operatives. A request for information, dubbed FAST-FWD (for Future Applications of Sensing Technologies for Fidelitous Wearable Devices), hopes that "rapid development of this pipeline may yield innovative, and potentially disruptive, sensing capabilities for future wearable devices." The RFI is not precise on the hoped-for capabilities, but it suggests that future wearables have the potential to detect biometric data and behavioral information from wearers and those in the vicinity of the wearer.

From a practical standpoint, this could mean applications as simple as wireless biometric access for employees and contractors at secure sites, or more clandestine uses like the detection of biometric signatures to identify and track particular individuals or the collection of behavioral and biological information that could be used as a high-tech polygraph.

IARPA is looking for ideas that "go beyond current prototypes in development and extend up to 10 years in the future as computing power, materials, processing, communications and design advance and converge to enable devices capable of persistent sensing with high fidelity," the RFI states. Key concerns include design and fit with an eye to comfort and concealment, battery life and sensor range.

Click here to read the full RFI.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Dec 01, 2014 at 9:17 AM


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