US Army Develops Wearable Heat Injury Prevention System

The US Army has developed a wearable technology that can prevent severe heat-related injuries among soldiers.

The wireless Heat Injury Prevention System (HIPS) device can be strapped to a soldier’s chest while performing missions or doing intense physical activity.

It measures critical data, such as heart rate, skin temperature, and estimated core body temperature.

The tech also analyzes the wearer’s movements to predict if he is at elevated risk for heat injury. A commander or drill sergeant will be notified via cellular phone if this happens.

HIPS wearable device
A closer look at the HIPS wearable device. Photo: Georgia Tech Research Institute

According to US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine physiologist Mark Buller, the HIPS has predicted 25 heat-related cases, including heat stroke.

“That gives leaders a new ability to adjust training on the fly if they see their troops are overheating or to stop one trainee from completing an exercise before he or she becomes ill,” he said, as quoted by Stars and Stripes.

‘Ready for Large-Scale Use’

Despite having been tested on more than 14,000 trainees, the HIPS has not been fully deployed across military services.

Col. Dave DeGroot, who leads the Army Heat Center, said he believes the chest-strapped device is now ready for large-scale adoption by the army.

He also acknowledged the need for as many tools as possible to train soldiers safely in the heat, especially at military installations prone to heat injuries, such as Fort Moore.

“The bottom line is that heatstroke is 100% preventable. Mild [heat injuries] are going to occur. If they don’t, I would question the quality of the training,” DeGroot said.

“But heat stroke doesn’t have to happen. That is our goal. And we’re trying to provide all the tools that can help us get there.”

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