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April 9th, 2010
Imagine it's just around sunset in a city in the Middle East. Daytime visibility has ended and a lone Soldier is just becoming aware of the uncertainties that darkness brings. Now imagine the Soldier blinks his eye, activating a special contact lens that allows him to see a crystal clear image of the surroundings behind him. A second blink and he sees what's ahead of him, and so on.
A contact lens, yes, a contact lens that looks, feels, and flexes like an ordinary contact lens. But embedded within it is an invisible, high-density, nanowire display formed by an array of nanoLEDs and a set of wireless communication electronics. The contact lens is in constant communication with a dispersed network of ground-based imagers, sensors, and the Soldier's command center.
Imagine a thousand dispersed microcameras bluetoothing information to the contact lens. Now imagine yet another type of plastic-like display, one slightly larger than the period at the end of a sentence that is covertly sewn inside the eye - a vital communication display device that the Soldier knows will always stay with him even if he is captured by the enemy. This becomes a communication device that will always keep him informed of the information he needs and will let him know help is on the way.
How is this possible? It's possible because of NEMS - Nanoelectromechanical Systems, powerful integrated systems that contain nanotechnology-enabled components - components or sub-systems so small, so broadly capable, and so reliable that we dare imagine the almost impossible. NEMS is an emerging technology with the potential to dramatically alter many facets of our daily lives and will profoundly impact future military operations. It is the dawn of a new age.
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