TIAX to Create Wearable Biomedical System to Detect Stress Levels of Soldiers in Combat

TIAX has been awarded a contract by the U.S. Department of Defense SBIR program to explore the development of a system for evaluating stress with biomedical sensors.

TIAX announced today that it has been awarded a contract by the U.S. Department of Defense Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program to explore the development of a medical data collection and processing system that can measure the stress level of soldiers. Data collected from this system will be used to determine in real-time if a given soldier is in a cognitive state that could compromise his or her safety in battle, as well as the ability to make optimal decisions. To develop this system, TIAX is collaborating with researchers at the Martinos Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, part of the Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts Institute of Technology Division of Health Sciences and Technology.

The system, entitled SENSORS (System for Evaluating Neurological Stress with Objective & Remote Sensors), will likely be in the form of a solid, lightweight garment, such as an under-helmet skullcap, that contains multiple built-in biomedical sensors. The garment will measure a variety of physiological parameters such as sleepiness, brain activity, perspiration, and blood pressure, then broadcast them wirelessly to a remote location for real-time processing and evaluation. The biomedical data gathered from soldiers in simulated battle situations will allow the Army to accumulate a better understanding of how stress, workload and cognitive state can affect soldiers’ performance and decision-making skills.

“The stress that our soldiers face in combat is immense. The SENSORS system will allow military officials to gather vital information, about human responses and reactions in specific battlefield situations, which will assist in determining how best to train soldiers and ultimately to protect warfighters,” said Arthur Schwope, Managing Director at TIAX. “While the system is intended for military testing facilities, it is applicable to other high stress sectors outside of the military including emergency medical services, public safety, commercial aviation, long-haul trucking and lie detection. The unique capabilities of the SENSORS system will enable individuals to detect their sleep deprivation and/or high stress level in order to make the most informed and appropriate decisions within the workplace.”

This project builds on over a decade of work that TIAX has done in the area of personal protective equipment (PPE). TIAX’s experts in human factors have vast experience in the design, development and evaluation of PPE and warrior systems, and have created several methodologies to assess various effects on human performance and combat effectiveness. Last August, TIAX announced that they had created a Multimodal Interface Research Platform (MIRP), in the form of a wearable vest, to enable the Army to measure aspects of human performance during critical situations including enemy, chemical, biological, or radiological threats.

TIAX was awarded 13 contracts from the SBIR program in 2003.