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US Navy to test using an Xbox gamepad to control the periscopes in submarines

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by CAPSLOCKSTUCK, Sep 20, 2017.

  1. CAPSLOCKSTUCK

    CAPSLOCKSTUCK Spaced Out Lunar Tick

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    The U.S. Navy plans to use Xbox 360 controllers to operate periscopes aboard its newer submarines.

    Instead of a traditional rotating periscope, the Navy's Virginia-class subs are set to use high-resolution cameras and large monitors.

    These can be can be controlled by a helicopter-style stick – but, they come with a $38,000 price tag.

    The Navy has now revealed plans to integrate an Xbox controller into the system, to slash prices and reduce required training time.

    [​IMG]

    https://pilotonline.com/news/milita...cle_5c24eefc-8e70-5c4a-9d82-00d29e052b76.html
     
  2. StrayKAT

    StrayKAT

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    Lots of GIs will catch right on. Heh. Most are gamers anyways.

    Glad to see them actually cutting costs though. There's an unbelievable ton of waste in the military... from food to office supplies to computers.
     
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  3. RejZoR

    RejZoR

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    Next, MOMO Force Feedback steering wheels for remote controlled Humvees and tanks :D
     
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  4. FordGT90Concept

    FordGT90Concept "I go fast!1!11!1!"

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    It's super easy to program too. Makes sense. Just hope they keep spares around.

    Navy wanted to get rid of physical periscopes for some time because they take a lot of space.
     
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  5. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright

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    Ummm they are not getting rid of physical periscopes. There is still a mast that rises up and pokes up out of the water to have a "look around". But instead of mirrors, prisms and lenses, there will be hi-rez cameras. This mast is often now referred to as a photonic mast. They are still devices used to "look" (scope) "around" (peri-).

    You are right that the old style took up a lot of space but the bigger problem with the old style periscope is it forced the entire periscope to be located in the conning tower. It also required a much larger opening in the pressurized hull - not a good thing when under water. With a photonic mast, the physical mast can be contained within a separate compartment and only the power and data wires need to penetrate the hole - obviously through much smaller holes.

    Moving to a photonic mast means many "analysts" and the commander can see what is happening at once. Plus the command center can now be located anywhere on the boat - like in the much wider, roomier mid section.

    Using these games controllers makes a lot of sense - for the taxpayers as well as the operators.
    This is true but because of aggressive FW&A (fraud, waste and abuse) programs that allow anyone from E1 (lowest enlisted grade) on up to report FW&A issues without worry of retribution, there have been an unbelievable ton of savings and recovered losses too. The USAF (and the other services too) have a "suggestion program" called "Airmen Powered by Innovation" (API) that pays airmen (often many $1000) for approved suggestions. The amount paid depends on the actual savings.

    If a Seaman made the suggestion to replace the controller with the XBOX controller, I would expect he got a nice bonus check too. I hope that is what happened as it gives incentive for other service members (and civilian employees too) to look around and see where savings can be made. There will always be waste in the military - that's just the nature of the business in the military. But the more "off-the-shelf" devices can be used in the place of very expensive proprietary devices - as long as they meet the rigorous needs of the military - the better it is for everyone, except the enemy! :D
     
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  6. eidairaman1

    eidairaman1 The Exiled Airman

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    Make sure fault tolerances are high, water proof, bump/drop proof, esd proof, robust motors to move it around with fault tolerance and system redundancy.
     
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  7. hat

    hat Enthusiast

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    Would be nice if more places worked like that. Usually if you make a suggestion you don't get squat, and your idea becomes the sole property of the company you work for. I'll never make any suggestions in an environment like that.
     
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  8. FordGT90Concept

    FordGT90Concept "I go fast!1!11!1!"

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  9. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright

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    That's not uncommon. Even in the military, if you come up with an idea, you don't "own" or get to keep the patent on it. But at least you get credit for it, and if it saves the taxpayer money, you can be rewarded for it.
     
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  10. eidairaman1

    eidairaman1 The Exiled Airman

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    Yeah it was called the IDEA program while i was in.

    There was Six Sigma but not for that
     
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  11. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright

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    Photonic masts go back further than that. In 2004 the USN put them in their Virginia class subs. But the Royal Navy has been using them even longer than that.

    But note this thread is about controlling them. Using a <$100 game controller instead of the $38,000 controller they use now is new.
     
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  12. eidairaman1

    eidairaman1 The Exiled Airman

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    Better than asking thrustmaster to make one
     
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  13. StrayKAT

    StrayKAT

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    Ah.. I didn't know they could report. That's good. I mostly knew about this from my old man and he retired decades ago (but was also civil service after that and still saw waste).
     
  14. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright

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    Sure can. In fact, it is encouraged. Servicemembers are taxpayers too!
    Even in this case with the Xbox controller, the USN will likely do a RFP and open it up to all makers to submit offers. There are laws out there that limit "sole source" suppliers for government contracts. This helps prevent any "conflicts of interest". For example, if the person making the decision happens to own a bunch of Microsoft stock, it would, at the very least, look funny or "present the appearance of impropriety" if right from the start only Microsoft was to be considered to provide this part. And any awardee of the contract would have to provide a part that meets the required specs. If the same product anyone can buy at Wal-mart or Best Buy meets those specs, fine. If not, the company will have to change the design or manufacturing to meet those specs. Thrustmaster or Microsoft will not be able to just "thrust" their product on the Navy and say "live with that or nothing". Of course, off-the-shelf would be cheaper so that would be better if it does meet the Navy's needs.
     
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  15. silentbogo

    silentbogo

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    Reminds me of Man In Black 2, when Will Smith upgraded the jet-limo with a PlayStation controller :laugh:
    Anyway, it's probably one of the most intuitive interfaces (though, not the best for controlling camera/periscope etc).
    Now I want my custom XBOX US Navy Edition controller with some "everlasting" potentiometers, bad-ass tactile switches, and definitely IP67-rated (or higher). :rockout:
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2017
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  16. TXST Guardian

    TXST Guardian

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    Not new, I remember years ago seeing either army/marines using xbox 360 controllers to control robots for infantry missions

    Side note: They must suck at mouse and keyboard ! #pcmasterrace :laugh::laugh:
     

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