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App helps build your uniform with a few taps of the screen

Apr. 7, 2013 - 10:13AM   |  
Tired of trying to conform to Army Regulation 670-1? There's an app for that.
Tired of trying to conform to Army Regulation 670-1? There's an app for that. (Army)
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It was Memorial Day weekend 2011, and Maj. John Patrick Rudio was fumbling with his Army Service Uniform, trying to get eight years of ribbons and awards in the right places according to Army Regulation 670-1.

“I’m trying to get my uniform together, trying to look stuff up and doing it all with my phone,” Rudio told Army Times. “I said, man, there should be an app for this.”

Rudio is a 32-year-old West Point graduate and former infantry officer who reclassified to Special Forces and is now with Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, N.C. He had no coding experience, so he enlisted a professional design team, and together they spent more than a year bringing his idea to life.

Here are five things to know about iUniform ASU:

1. How it works. Simply open up the app and hit the Build a New Uniform button and you’re on your way. First you select your rank, branch and gender, then go through an extensive menu of ribbons, awards, badges, combat service ID badges and other awards and the devices to go with them.

The app also includes a ruler to help you space all of the pins perfectly. You can save multiple uniforms, which Rudio pointed out is particularly helpful for team or squad leaders. Just make a profile for each of your soldiers and send them the diagram before inspections.

2. It’s not Army-approved. That’s not to say that the app isn’t accurate, just that Rudio created it independently of the Army’s own app developers. He said he spent a good chunk of the yearlong development process translating Army knowledge for the designers and coders, who had no military background and little understanding of the significance of a quarter-inch space between awards.

“I didn’t consult with the Army on any of it,” he said. “It’s considered free knowledge. It’s out there, it’s open.”

He did, however, reach out to the Army G-1 office to clarify some things, “but it wasn’t in any official capacity,” he said.

3. It’s gaining momentum. iUniform ASU made its App Store debut in October 2012 and as of press time had been downloaded 2,195 times at $3 apiece. Rudio said he is just getting into the promotion process because he didn’t want to raise any eyebrows while it was in development.

“I never wanted it to be something where, the conversations had about it occurred during work or in the workplace,” he said. “I really wanted to make sure this was an endeavor that was completely outside my time in the Army.”

4. Your feedback is appreciated. He has, however, consulted with friends during off-hours, in addition to taking suggestions directly through the app. The feedback button on the home screen sends an email directly to Rudio.

He said he’s gotten a lot of suggestions for adding state-specific National Guard or less common Reserve awards, which he would like to incorporate, as well as foreign awards.

“A lot of people wear German jump wings, or have different awards from different countries,” Rudio said, but he opted to create one generic foreign award for the first iteration.

The biggest update on his agenda, though, is the ability to edit saved uniforms. Currently, if you receive a new award, you’d have to start from scratch in the app, but Rudio said he’s working on fixing that.

5. It’s coming to Android. It’s one of the more common questions he gets, whether the app will eventually be converted to work with Android phones.

“That takes, of course, a lot of effort and time,” he said. “I definitely have plans to do that, I just have to do it incrementally.”

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