With all the benefits that technology brings to warfighters, comes the problem of how to power it. BAE Systems has shown off a wearable power solution that moves the battery from individual devices to one central location.
Designed to be worn in a vest or along with regular body armour, the system essentially comprises of large contoured power cells that can be worn in a vest. The main large insert weighs just over a kilogram and offers 100Wh. The standard configuration of the Integrated Power System (IPS) would consist of two such power storage devices, so that's 200Wh or 40 hours at typical 5W consumption.
They are rechargeable, with a growing trend for recharging points on military vehicles, meaning soldiers can plug themselves in to recharge during transit. Recharging is said to take 1.5 hours.
One of the details we liked was the external power gauge, like a MacBook Pro, which at the press of a button will give you the power levels of each cell.
The demonstration we saw showed the IPS powering a rifle mounted scope (which BAE Systems tells us is amongst the smallest and lightest thermal scope in the business) and connected to a helmet-mounted heads-up display. This configuration means you can see round corners, protecting the soldier whilst still providing plenty of information to him.
The IPS caught our eye because the concept could easily appeal to gadget fans and already exists in some forms. Imagine having a lightweight contoured rechargeable power cell that you could carry in your backpack that would charge all your devices on the move, letting you charge the bag in Starbucks, rather than having to get everything out...