Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 135 / NOVEMBER 1991 / PAGE 10

The mother of all soldiers. (Texas Microsystems to study the feasibility of a portable soldier's computer)
by Alan Bechtold

Foot soldiers may soon join the ranks of those using high-tech military machines with the introduction of a new pocket-sized computer destined to revolutionize ground military action. Texas Microsystems, a manufacturer of Mission-Critical microcomputers, will study the feasibility of a portable Soldier's Computer.

Deployment of the one-pound, high-speed portable computer could be as early as 1995 and is slated to have some of the same advanced communications and graphics capabilities found in fighter aircraft, tanks, and other sophisticated weapons systems. The Soldier's Computer, which will be about the size of a cigarette pack, will initially use Intel's 80386 architecture.

One possible configuration for the Soldier's Computer uses a radio to transmit both voice and data messages and a heads-up display mounted on a helmet or worn as glasses to project a virtual image. It could have a microphone for voice messaging and an integrated "Global Positioning System" to allow soldiers to pinpoint their exact locations at any time. Soldiers would also view a realtime map showing friendly and enemy troop positions, weapons sites, danger spots, and terrain features.

Although it could add new meaning to the concept of war games, Texas Microsystems also predicts widespread application of the portable PC in other areas. For example, it could just as easily be configured as the Automobile Mechanic's Computer, the Policeman's PC, or the Emergency Medical Technician's Computer.