The concept sounds relatively simple: A team of special operations troops sees an area of interest, and aims their smartphones. Then software magically produces instant GPS coordinates of where the operators are looking, giving commanders the option to strike the target or watch a live-stream of events from their command center.
It’s the type of technology that the U.S. Special Operations Command believes can help lift the fog of war.
The developmental app has yet to be tested in the field, but SOCOM sees promise. The command’s technology incubator, known as SOFWERX, has partnered with the software company CrowdOptic and a prototype version is expected to be ready by Sept. 30.
The app, dubbed “collective awareness engine,” combines real-time GPS data and live video streaming and calculates the precise location of where people’s smartphones or smart-glasses are looking.
It’s a new form of “triangulation,” says CrowdOptic CEO and co-founder Jon B. Fisher. “Triangulation has been around since Pythagoras. GPS has been around for decades,” he says in an interview. What is new is that now “we have the ability to understand in real time where multiple mobile devices are aimed in common.”