Photos by the U.S. Dept. of Defense
Military intelligence just got a whole lot smarter with a new breed of under-armor that monitors soldiers’ vitals during combat. Developed by U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command and the Telemedicine & Advanced Technology Research Center, in collaboration with Foster-Miller and Malden Mills Industries, the “wear and forget physiological sensing system” uses gel-free sensors to form an electronic network that monitors respiration, heart rate, body posture, and skin temperature. Unlike current monitoring systems, which typically involve bulky chest straps attached to a tangle of electronics, the high-tech drawers are designed for comfort. Using computer algorithms to extrapolate the data, the technology could identify critical casualties, as well as train and recruit personnel for missions.
UNDIES THAT THINK
Although part of the battle defense uniform, or BDU, the undergarments are meant to stand alone without requiring an overhaul of existing kits. They’re also lightweight—barely noticeable, in fact—meaning soldiers are more likely to comply with making them part of their standard issue.
Although part of the battle defense uniform, or BDU, the undergarments are meant to stand alone.
Taken further, the technology could inform tacticians about altitude adaptation, burn and blunt trauma, blood volume, metabolic activity, respiratory distress, and chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear exposure. With the addition of acoustic sensors, they could even assess ballistic impact and thoracic sounds to detect trauma and help medics pinpoint where they’re needed most.
Photographs of any work in progress are still under wraps but it already shows promise as a tool to inform military leaders about the real and perceived limitations of their charges. Used during training, the undergarments could also improve performance, identify fatigue signals, and determine warfare-readiness, all of which would result in more better-equipped combatants on the battlefield.