U.S. Department of Defense teams up with Apple, others to develop wearable tech

“The Pentagon is teaming up with Apple, Boeing, Harvard and others to develop high-tech sensory gear flexible enough to be worn by people or molded onto the outside of a jet,” David Alexander reports for Reuters. “The rapid development of new technologies is forcing the Pentagon to seek partnerships with the private sector rather than developing its technology itself, defense officials say. ‘I’ve been pushing the Pentagon to think outside our five-sided box and invest in innovation here in Silicon Valley and in tech communities across the country,’ Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in prepared remarks on Friday.”

“The new technology aims to use high-end printing technologies to create stretchable electronics that could be embedded with sensors and worn by soldiers, a defense official said, and could ultimately be used on ships or warplanes for real-time monitoring of their structural integrity,” Alexander reports. “The U.S. government is contributing $75 million over five years, he said, and companies, managed by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, will add $90 million, with local governments chipping in more to take the total to $171 million.

Alexander reports, “The Flexible Hybrid Electronics Manufacturing Innovation Hub, which will be based in San Jose, is the seventh of nine such institutes planned by the Obama administration in an effort to revitalize several U.S. manufacturing sectors, several of them defense-related.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: More information on Flexible Hybrid Electronics and the Manufacturing Institute: www.manufacturing.gov


  1. The lack of a clear cut answer to iPhone, iPad and now Apple Watch has made them capitulate to Apple’s mastery of technology? I wonder…………?

    Or it could be something as simple as swopping a Crackberry for an iPhone that swung the decision for the Commander in chief.

  2. I dearly hope that Apple has not caved into the military’s idiocy. Just because the military has an almost unlimited budget and milks the citizenry dry is no reason to pander to them. Please Apple, give the military the middle finger and focus on solutions for real people to solve their day to day problems and help knit the world together in understanding (Not War).

    The military is not a solution but is in fact, the problem. I believe that there are a huge number of non-military solutions to the world’s problems and are a fraction of the price and long lasting.

  3. The DoD’s acquisition regulations are so complex and burdensome that few high tech firms want anything to do with them. Much of the complexity has to do with trying to ensure fairness in the bidding process and making sure the Government isn’t getting ripped off.

    Unfortunately, the burden this adds to the overall costs appear to outweighs the benefits. But don’t expect meaningful reform to ever happen – they’ve tried many times before and they’ll try again. The very nature of the U.S. government, the structure of the House and Senate, how officials are elected, and how budget compromises are made, virtually precludes any kind of reform that will allow real markets rates (without the bureaucratic overhead) to permeate and streamline DoD procurement.

    I wouldn’t expect much direct participation from Apple in any DoD initiative. Third party systems integrators using Apple technology are more likely participants.

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