TIAX Develops Novel Vest to Train Soldiers for Combat and Test Response Time During Critical Situations

New MIRP technology enables Army to test soldier response time during critical situations.

TIAX announced today that it has developed a unique system for the US Army that will help in the design of advanced warrior systems that allow soldiers to better react to their environment and the various dangerous situations they may face in combat.

The system, TIAX’s Mulitmodal Interface Research Platform (MIRP), enables the Army to measure aspects of human performance during critical situations including enemy, chemical, biological, or radiological threats. As part of its initial testing, MIRP has been incorporated into a vest equipped with miniature head-mounted display, tactile stimulators, stereo headphones, heading sensors and vice trigger switches that determine how quickly and accurately users respond to cues.

“TIAX’s development of MIRP will help us understand how information should be presented to warfighters in combat situations, which will ultimately further the Army’s goal of protecting the lives of our soldiers,” said Cynthia Blackwell, Human Performance & Training Lead for the Objective Force Warrior Program at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Center and TIAX’s government contact on the project.

MIRP can collect human performance data within the context of four predetermined scenarios in which soldiers must be able to perform–normal ambient conditions, harsh bright lights, loud noise, and an obstructed path within a cluttered environment. MIRP works by signaling the user through visual, auditory, or haptic cues to perform a certain task, then measures the user’s reaction time and the accuracy with which the task is completed.

A soldier wearing the MIRP vest could receive a verbal message such as “enemy on your right” in the right ear and subsequently receive a pattern of vibrations on the right shoulder signaling the presence of the enemy on the right. The system records the speed and accuracy of the soldier’s response through the heading sensors and trigger switch.

“We are honored to be developing tools for our armed forces that incorporate the latest technologies and allow soldiers to be better prepared when in combat,” said Cameron Miner, Director of Wearable Systems at TIAX. “When we designed MIRP, we wanted to ensure that the system would not hinder or overwhelm soldiers, but rather work in tandem with them to provide insight on how we can enhance their performance and capabilities.”

Although MIRP was initially designed for military research purposes, TIAX plans to modify the system for use by others as well, including first responders such as police officers, fire fighters, EMTs, and physicians. TIAX also believes that MIRP could prove to be a valuable training and evaluation tool for doctors. During surgery, information via modality cues could be delivered to medical staff, preventing the need to interrupt patient care.