Image: www.airforcemedicine.af.mil

A new medical wearable technology can save lives on battlefield

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The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), in collaboration with the U.S air force has come up with an impressive wearable that’s able to help medics on the battlefield.

Wearable technology, in general, is becoming more and more popular as it helps reduce the amount of weight that needs to be carried whilst giving enormous benefits. The new wearable uses tissue-integrating biosensors to measure body chemistry which helps medics assess if a subject can be medically evacuated or not. It’s something that can be crucial in saving a life on the battlefield.

Image: www.airforcemedicine.af.mil
Image: www.airforcemedicine.af.mil

A lot of research has gone into wearable technology these days in order to provide more care to deployed soldiers on the battlefield. The average soldier already carries a lot of weight, therefore, the goal of these wearables is to provide all the necessary features while being as small and lightweight as possible so that they aren’t a burden on the person using them.

According to Dr. David Burch, a research biomedical engineer and the medical technology solutions team lead for the En Route Care Medical Technology Solutions Research Group, 711th HPW:

“An aircraft has a very tight space and weight limit to maintain performance, and battlefield medics need to carry everything they use. Wearables provide accessibility to the human in a way that is better form, fit, and function.”

The new wearable device, in particular, is able to achieve just that; Accessibility. The device is primarily a tissue oxygenation sensor which lets medics evaluate whether a person can be safely medically evacuated or not. The device is able to do this by checking how well the blood of the patient transports oxygen to the tissue it evaluates. Potentially, it could save a life.

Image: www.airforcemedicine.af.mil
Image: www.airforcemedicine.af.mil

Dr. James Christensen, product line lead for Airman Sensing and Assessment, from the 711 HPW’s Airman Systems Directorate says:

“This sensor makes it easier to get clinical information at the point of injury and throughout the continuum of care”.
“It improves capabilities while reducing weight, something that is important for both pararescuers and en route patient care.”

The sensor is causing a lot of chatter in the community right now because of its potential to help a patient throughout the treatment process. As mentioned earlier, it could potentially save lives which is why it’s the cause of a lot of excitement for the people behind it.

The best part about this wearable technology is that it adds no burden onto the combatant whatsoever. It also allows medics and concerned personnel to constantly monitor aircrew or anyone using the device. Technically, it’s not even a device since it comes in the form of a compression undershirt that fits nicely beneath the flight suit. It can be extended to other members of the U.S army as well, but for now, it’s a project led by the Air Force so the primary goal is to facilitate the aircrew.

The shirt is able to provide remote monitoring as well. It’s a handy feature to have in case of unforeseen circumstances. It allows medics to be more agile and prepared to face anything which raises the efficiency of the entire air force significantly. To conclude, Christensen says:

“Innovations like wearable medical technology opens up new modes of operation”.
“Some of these capabilities just weren’t plausible in forward locations before. These advancements allow us to do more routine monitoring, do more preventative monitoring that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible without the light and lean nature of wearable technology.”

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