US Air Force takes a look through Google Glass

The military is testing the wearable’s use for combat situations, as well as building apps that could help soldiers on the battlefield.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
2 min read

Google Glass is being tested by the US Air Force for possible battlefield use. Sarah Tew/CNET

Robocop's cyborg vision appears to have foretold the future -- with police using enhanced visual and communication capabilities in the form of a headset.

So, it doesn't come as much of a surprise that the US Air Force is now testing Google Glass for the wearable's possible use on the battlefield. According to VentureBeat, a research team at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio is testing whether the computer-enabled eyeglasses could help soldiers on combat missions.

The Air Force told VentureBeat that Glass could assist soldiers because of "its low power, its low footprint, it sits totally above the eyes, and doesn't block images or hinder vision." Soldiers could use the device to locate targets, help in aircraft to ground communication, and assist in search and rescue missions.

However, not quick to completely embrace the technology, Andres Calvo, a software developer and civilian contractor with the Air Force, also told VentureBeat that the wearable is "not a silver bullet for many of the Air Force's needs."

Google Glass has the ability to record videos, take photos, chat, get directions, look up facts on the Web, and more. These types of real-time capabilities in dangerous situations could feasibly help soldiers. Add some apps to the interface, and the wearable could assist the Air Force even more.

The team at Wright Patterson Air Force Base is currently building apps for possible battlefield use, while also working to create proprietary software to boost the Android OS platform that Glass uses. According to VentureBeat, Google and the Air Force have not partnered on the soldiers' testing of the wearable.

This isn't the first time Google Glass has been used by professionals other than tech geeks. Firefighters, doctors, and people working in other fields have tested the device for various uses. Last month, emergency room clinicians in Boston announced they'd been trying out the wearable as a way to examine patients while simultaneously reading their charts.