The Italian Army recently asked Sharp Italy to design a visual solution system for its military training missions. The system needed to be mobile, shockproof, resistant to humidity and protected from sudden power changes when fed by power units.
Sharp’s response was to create BattlePad, a Sharp BIG PAD interactive display and laptop, protected by a special mobile case made of polypropylene honeycomb panels, equipped with a motor-powered stand ensuring a 0-90° elevation and slant, with a 750W voltage stabiliser.
“Our goal has always been to meet the needs of the customer and in this case there were special needs to take into consideration,” says Carlo Alberto Tenchini, marketing and communications director Sharp Italy. “For example, along with interactivity, the displays needed to be mobile, so the cadets could take the screens in the field with them on mobile exercises. So we equipped each BIG PAD with a specially constructed Flight Case with its own motorised stand that allows for easy transport.
“One essential requirement was to have an open system suitable for use with the Army’s specialised applications, including cartography and tactical applications for command posts,” he adds. “The first step was to create a prototype. This was submitted to testing by the Army’s ITC engineers and a field test during an army exercise in north Italy that involved 1,600 soldiers from 12 different countries.”
After the testing of the prototype, changes were requested. The case material was modified, and the design of the case itself was changed to allow faster loading and unloading from trucks in all terrain conditions, and to improve logistics for air transportation. The Sharp team also identified the need for additional components, such as a power stabiliser and a GPS device.
Sharp BattlePad met all of the client’s demands: the original and light polypropylene flight case is suitable for all weather conditions. The system is easy to use and with the plug and play function, it can be set up in a few seconds.
The horizontal set up of the display can be used as a large digital table, suitable for working on digital cartography systems, while the vertical set up can be used for presentations, briefings and training classes.
The Sharp TW3 BIG PAD has an integrated wireless encrypted system that ensures a safe wireless connection for a number of devices (Wi-Fi Direct). Therefore, the military can safely and easily collaborate with their own devices during meetings.
Videoconference and video monitoring are available using the different inputs of the screen. It can also be used for leisure purposes, using a media player.
The army is the ultimate mission critical environment, so its technology needs to work 24/7. To ensure reliability, a software management downloader is available for future updates, and the system doesn’t require a maintenance programme.
“Outside of the military, the BattlePAD solution could be used in any situation or environment that requires the quick set-up of a mobile command post, meeting room, or ‘on location’ broadcast unit or press/media centre with an interactive collaboration display at its heart,” Carlo adds. “It could also be used for rescue teams, police operations, on-site bases for construction companies, media centres in any field location, or sporting events are a few examples – a Formula One team is currently considering this solution for their needs.”