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Navy will use Xbox 360 controllers on nuclear powered submarines

Navy will use Xbox 360 controllers on nuclear powered submarines
© Andreus | Dreamstime

I'm amazed at what we can do with advancements in technology. Smartphones, tablets, and laptops let us accomplish pretty much anything we set our minds to, even on the go.

Those are examples of tech available to the public. Can you imagine what the U.S. military has access to? You won't believe what piece of basic tech our military is about to implement.

U.S. military turning to Xbox

As you might imagine, the U.S. Navy's most advanced submarines are full of high-tech equipment. The days of old school periscopes like you remember seeing on "McHale's Navy" are long gone.

These days, the control room of a nuclear submarine has flat screen monitors and sophisticated computers helping sailors see everything happening in the area. No more tube periscopes that allow one person at a time to look through.

Now, photonic masts rotate 360 degrees and feature high-resolution cameras. Their images are displayed on huge monitors for everyone in the control room to see. This system is controlled with a stick, similar to what you'd find in a helicopter.

Many sailors have complained about these helicopter-style sticks being clunky and hard to operate. So the U.S. military is implementing a new controller...from a video game system.

Navy officials got together with developers at Lockheed Martin to come up with a new controller to reduce costs and give sailors something they're used to using. An Xbox controller.

Image: Sailor testing Xbox controller in laboratory (Source: U.S. Navy)

Officials with Lockheed Martin said sailors who tried using the Xbox controller were able to figure the system out on their own in a matter of minutes. The Xbox controller is also much cheaper than the original stick, which cost nearly $38,000. It's being replaced with an Xbox controller that costs under $30.

The Navy said it's been conducting tests with the new controller for over two years and will be integrated into systems later this year. It's part of the Navy's plan to integrate technology that young people are used to using in their daily lives.

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