Prof. dr. Adelbert Bronkhorst
- Human Factors
Dutch military personnel will increasingly be involved in global missions in extreme conditions. This means we will need a tool for remote soldier performance and health monitoring. TNO and new sensor technologies may be the solution. The new military monitoring applications developed by TNO will, however, also be of use to the civilian world, e.g. with fire services and top athletes or in patient monitoring.
In enemy territory soldiers not only have to deal with the physical threat, but also with stress and fatigue caused by protracted operations or lack of sleep. Nowadays we are able to measure the stress and the fatigue using intelligent sensors. Before long there will be a military dress that includes sensors designed to inform the higher echelons on the physiological state the soldier is in. This will also create an insight into their operational effectiveness. By linking these data to the situational context we will then be able to predict soldier deployability. It will enable us to better synchronise operations, because these will increasingly take place in a networked environment. That is why TNO is now investigating the performance and health parameters best suited for soldier monitoring.
Intelligent sensor systems worn on the body to monitor the physical status of a person are already being used in healthcare. In various countries - including the Netherlands - work is now being done on military applications. In 2005 TNO started the development of a Smart Sensor Suit for military use. This requires TNO to find answers to questions like: which systems are robust and reliable enough for operations in extreme conditions? Who will have access to the data gathered by the Smart Sensor Suit? The Smart Sensor Suit not only calls for answers to countless questions, but also for the development of reliable algorithms and forecasting models. TNO expects the design of the Smart Sensor Suit to be available in 2009. By that time it will also be suitable for use by the police, the fire services and top athletes.