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Wearable Tech Designed to Keep Soldiers Safer

The point of this obstacle course is to simulate what a soldier might encounter when he’s in the field. If a war fighter has to clear a building, they might have to jump through a window, a balance beam, if they have to step on anything narrow, chasing somebody down: things of that sort. So, we’re trying to simulate a real environment in a way that we can constrain and quantify their movement. We’re using sensors called inertial measurement units. And essentially it’s a small box that inside of it has an accelerometer and a gyroscope which can detect acceleration in three directions: up, down, and sideways and then also the rotation of the sensor in those three directions as well. By attaching those sensors to the body segments, like the foot or the torso, we can see exactly where those body segments are moving in space. The whole point of this project is to be able to see how a soldier can move through these obstacles and then we’re going to weigh them down with body armor and see what changes when they have body armor, going through these same obstacles Our goal as a research team is to hammer in the algorithms that analyze this data. Right now, the gold standard that the army has to use is called motion capture, which is a set of cameras with reflective markers on the body, similar to what they use in the movies. The problem with that is: you can only do that in a very small space in a lab. It takes a long time to process that data. With these sensors, we cut out almost all of that hassle and we can do it in a real environment — having them do the movements that they would naturally do. The military wants this as soon as possible so they can start integrating it into the new equipment that they use and integrating it into the soldiers as they’re out on the field. Maybe some day, a sergeant will have a tablet — he’ll have a readout on every soldier and be able to see if their pattern indicates fatigue. They can pull that soldier back, take him out of a hot zone — protect the soldier so he doesn’t hurt himself. So he’s an effective soldier and he doesn’t get himself hurt from the enemy.

Tony wyaad



  1. Michigan Engineering Posted on November 20, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    Michigan Engineers are utilizing wearable technology that could help keep soldiers safer in combat situations. Using an array of miniature inertial measurement units (IMUs) that wirelessly transmit kinematic data and a specially designed obstacle course, researchers are creating algorithms that can help the military test how a soldier’s body reacts under pressure and stamina exertion.