Smart body armour could soon detect soldiers' brain injuries

Measuring blasts through sensors
Smart body armour could detect brain damage

While you're probably not experiencing many explosions in your day-to-day life, medics working within the military may soon be able to detect whether shockwaves have caused serious brain injury to soldiers.

The US Navy's Office of Naval Research is developing the Blast Load Assessment Sense and Test (BLAST), a sensor system that also doubles up as forced acronym.

The sensors are located in both the helmet and body armour, with shock pressure measured and shared with a scanner. When this portable system is combined with a neurological tool, medical staff will then be able to decide if a soldier is able to remain in the field — something that's vital when considering US military guidelines.

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Currently, those within close proximity to an explosion are forced to take a trip to the sidelines for a full day and receive a medical checkup.

Of course, such a scenario could affect a large number of those in the field, even ones who aren't necessarily at risk of injury. The hope is that BLAST can help distinguish who needs precautionary attention and who doesn't.

"A system like BLAST is vitally important because it can help recognize the signs of TBI early and tell warfighters they might need medical attention," said Dr. Timothy Bentley, a program manager overseeing the research for ONR's Warfighter Performance Department.

"This reduces the likelihood of someone enduring multiple blasts and suffering more serious brain injury. BLAST also is unique for its unique suite of technology."

This doesn't mean the tech is close to seeing action within the field any time soon, though. Tests are expected to begin in around 18 months, with a wider rollout, if all goes to plan, dropping in around three to five years.

Source: MilitaryTimes


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