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Japanese iPhone Application Teaches Military Salute

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Published on Dec 24, 2010

Take a look at this... ever think a phone could teach how to do a military salute? Well one of Japan's most elite defense forces created just that. Some officials say they were worried it would lead to harsh criticism from the public, but it's actually been very well received.

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It is unlikely to replace military trainers yelling at new recruits to teach them how to salute, but the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force has recently released an iPhone application that does the exactly same job with less stress and more fun.

The "Salute Trainer" disciplines users to salute like a navy officer using the phone's motion detector to monitor the accuracy and speed of the arm movements as well as the angle of the hand. A training video launched on YouTube by the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Forces takes a tongue-and-cheek look at the app.

[Lt. Hiroshi Hanazawa, Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force]:
"The application is not to train the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force agents but to enhance ordinary people's interest and involvement with us."

Hanazawa and his team spent a year developing the software. They say they were well aware that they risked being criticized for being too frivolous and lax in their duties in defending the nation.

However they were pleasantly surprised by the favorable reception.

[Lt. Hiroshi Hanazawa, Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force]:
"Usually the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force is considered stuffy and serious, but since the release of this application many people have responded positively to us, and we were happy to find that people now seem to have a more friendly and relaxed view of our organization."

Some ten thousand users have downloaded the free training app in the first week since its release on the Japanese iTunes apps store on December 12. Over 60,000 people have viewed the YouTube promotional video that features real JMSDF agents with more entertaining and totally fictional peripheral products -- such as the "Salute Protractor" and "Salute Muscle Reinforcer."

As for how to get the best scores, Hanazawa had a tip to master the training game.

[Lt. Hiroshi Hanazawa, Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force]:
"The key to getting a high score on this app is to move your arm swiftly to the salute position."

The Japan Navy has no plans yet to redesign this app for other smart phones.

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