“The U.S. military went into Iraq with few troops able to speak Arabic. Now they can use their iPods to do the talking for them. A new software product, VCommunicator Mobile, and a speaker than plugs into where the ear buds go, enables troops to quickly access a library of phrases. There is also a set of protective covers for the iPod and speaker, with Velcro straps so that you can attach both to your arm,” James Dunnigan reports for StrategyPage.

“If all this sounds very soldier-friendly, that’s because the product was designed with the help of troops from the 10th Mountain division, who have been using 260 of these specially equipped iPods for the last year. This cost the army $800,000, and included language modules for Iraqi Arabic (it’s a distinct dialect) and Kurdish (an Indo-European language spoken in the north). There are also modules for languages spoken in Afghanistan (Dari and Pushto). Over 700 troops are using the device in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Dunnigan reports.

“The army has also provided a solar recharger for the iPods of troops spending a lot of time out in the hills of Afghanistan,” Dunnigan reports.

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “BigMac” for the heads up.]