Previous parts here:
- Creating a scientifically semi-valid super-soldier, part 1: Skeleton
- Creating a scientifically semi-valid super-soldier, part 2: nervous system
- Creating a scientifically semi-valid super-soldier, part 3: Physical shock resistance
- Creating a scientifically semi-valid super-soldier, part 4: respiratory system
- Creating a scientifically semi-valid super-soldier, part 5: Heart and circulatory system
- Creating a scientifically semi-valid super-soldier, part 6: Radiation protection
- Creating a scientifically semi-valid super-soldier, part 7: Hearing
In just about any profession communication is important. For a soldier this is even more important, as both processing and signalling information can mean life or death for nearby allies and enemies. So when designing a super-soldier from the ground up you want to pay special attention to how they communicate.
Some restrictions for this design: Each communication method needs to be biologically buildable, repairable and maintainable without external help from a workshop (so no mechanical implants unless the body can build them). Also it needs to fit on a creature that looks as much human as possible. Small edit: as a future super-soldier, space-based combat could happen and communication in space would be handy in case of failure of the given equipment.
There are many many types of communication possible, here's a few I had thought off with varying chances of success:
- The face. Humans use it for communicating emotions, with some extra musculature and other tissues the soldier can communicate other things as well during combat. Set facial expressions can signal the health status of the soldier, and by changing some expressions in a specific way soldiers could even communicate with eachother (instead of sign-language, face-language). The disadvantage is that soldiers could wear helmets that prevent reading the face, or enemies might see what a soldier is communicating by looking at their face. Possible interception: Anyone who can discern your features is able to see the communication. Binoculars and other vision enhancing equipment make it easier. Can only intercept when lookin at the front of the face.
- The hands (and arms). Sign language exists, use it. Unlike facial expressions the hands can communicate even when covered by armored gloves and sleeves and are much better visible from a distance. Disadvantage is that you need to empty your hands before communicating. Possible interception: Anyone capable of discerning the exact movement of your hands is able to read it, vision enhancing equipment will help intercept messages. Can intercept from the front and side as long as nothing blocks the vision of the hands.
- Bioluminescence. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bioluminescence. This gives you a better range and better visibility at night. It also relies on visible skin. Cuttlefish (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuttlefish) can control the lights on their body to a great degree and create immensely complex patterns, and actually already use this to communicate. Such patterns of shape and colour could signal immense amount of data to friendly soldiers in quick succession, allowing for short bursts of silent communication to reduce the chance of interception or discovery because of using it. Again a disadvantage is the fact that some skin needs to be visible. Possible interception: Vision, possibly with visiual enhancing equipment or if there's less light interference (like during the night). Depending on the positioning this can be intercepted only by being straight in front (for something closer to a laser or encased by something) or from the front and sides if it's a light on the surface of the skin.
- Camouflage. Cuttlefish again are capable of immensely complex patterns on their skin, even without light. Such patterns could, possibly in combination with all the other methods, signal large amounts of information to other soldiers nearby. Another advantage would be the ability to camouflage exposed skin on the fly. A disadvantage: You have to have exposed (or at least visible) skin to do this, which restricts what kind of armor you might be able to wear and the amount of protection it gives. possible interception: When seen from the front (of the surface area) it can be read by anyone, vision enhancing equipment increases the range.
- Sound: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parasaurolophus. The ParaSaurolophus (probably) used a crest on it's head to produce low soundwaves that carried far for communication. Similar things might be located on the body of the humanoid. Question is how to put them on the body without making it look alien. possible interception: Anyone within a certain radius. The range from the front will be longer than the range from the back, but in essence it can be intercepted from any direction. As example here's some ways directional microphones could help intercept at range: https://scienceprog.com/long-range-directional-microphones-myth-and-reality/
- Sound: Voice. I'm not sure, but perhaps multiple vocal cords could be installed for a variety of sounds, from high frequency to low frequency, to improve the range of communications available. A squadleader is definitely going to find a deep, carrying voice with a lot of range useful for keeping track of his soldiers and giving orders. Disadvantage is ofcourse that enemies might hear it too. Possible interception: Anyone within hearing range.
- Electric potential. A close-range communication, similar to an electric eel the soldier could produce an electric potential on it's skin to communicate with (it could also be used to communicate with electronics). To communicate with a fellow soldier they would need to touch eachother. Armor could possibly have conductive area's to allow touch without removing the armor. The pulses, frequency etc could all be varied to transfer types of information quickly.Possible interception: You'll have to be able to register an electric potential at range with enough detail to identify individual nerve input or you'll have to be touching the target you want to intercept the message from. Neither seems very likely.
- Biological radio (normal radio applications, WIFI, short-ranged Bluetooth). I'm really interested in the potential of a biological radio. Would it be possible to build one? Would it be too easy to find a soldier using a bio-radio on a battlefield using electronics? What would be the range of such a bio-radio? Could the soldier change the range in case it might be intercepted? Could fellow soldiers even receive the messages with their own bio-radio? Possible interception: We can currently already intercept radio, and use a variety of methods to make the message unreadable. To prevent interception the users would need to restrict themselves to a limited set of predetermined short signals. Possibly with one signal that will shift the meaning of each individual signal should the enemy discover what certain signals mean, all predetermined prior to the battle.
- Pheremones. Many animals use it to communicate, and it has the advantage that you can leave it behind for other soldiers to find later. Disadvantage is that it means anyone with a good nose can find the pheremones and the soldier excreting it, it takes a while for the communication to get through to everyone and wind could prevent communication in some directions. possible interception: Anyone who comes along and can smell the pheromones. More so than with biological radio, the users would determine the meaning of each pheromone prior to a battle so the enemy only knows there's a signal, but not what it means.
That was more than a few I thought off. Does anyone have a good idea about such systems? Or does anyone have a better method of communication they can think off?