One of the big medical stories to emerge from the US engagement in Iraq is the improving recognition of TBI — largely from IEDs (traumatic brain injury from improvised explosive devices).
Now, BAE Systems, the big European defense contractor, has unveiled its latest concussion sensor for soldier helmets, named Headborne Energy Analysis and Diagnostic System (HEADS — see what they did there?). About 7,000 1st generation sensors have already been installed in helmets of U.S. military warriors, but the new devices feature much more effective reporting capabilities that will hopefully help in getting medical attention quicker to those that need it.
Some details from BAE’s press release:
The HEADS smart sensor is also designed to provide medical professionals with important data that may help determine the severity of a possible TBI. “With our Generation II HEADS sensor, we’re providing medical teams with a valuable diagnostic tool that utilizes radio frequency technology,” added Coltman. “With our new ‘smarter’ sensor, if a soldier is exposed to a blast, possibly sustaining a concussion, not only will the HEADS visual LED display be triggered at the time of the event, but once the soldier enters a specified area, such as forward operating base or dining facility, a series of strategically placed antennae will scan all available HEADS units and send data to a computer, identifying any soldiers who may have sustained a blast-related brain injury.”
The sensor itself is small, lightweight and can be secured inside virtually any combat helmet. Although imperceptible to the wearer, it is designed to continuously collect critical, potentially lifesaving data, including impact direction, magnitude, duration, blast pressures, angular and linear accelerations as well as the exact times of single or multiple blast events. That information is then securely stored until it can be quickly downloaded and analyzed by medical teams using a simple USB or wireless connection.
Compatible with most helmets, the HEADS sensor is unobtrusive and won’t interfere with additional helmet-mounted equipment soldiers may need, such as goggles and other sensors.
Deliveries on the initial Generation II HEADS order are expected to begin in April 2011, and be completed by July 2011.
Press release: BAE Systems Unveils Its Heads Generation II Helmet Sensor …
(hat tip: Gizmag)