The objective of the research area “Wearable Technology & Systems” is to develop integrated systems solutions to enhance pilots’ performance and guard health and safety while operating in extreme and adverse environments.
“Wearable technology” refers to clothing, wearables and accessories including computer and advanced electronic technologies. Wearable technology is used to increase the operational performance of the professional user and/or to increase the protection against the hostile elements of the surroundings. The combination or rather the integration of these systems and the individual determine the operational performance.
Within Aeolus, wearable technology focusses on the applicability in extreme environments. It is starting to be more widely adopted, even in military and space, as it can contribute to manage and/or reduce the physical and cognitive burden. It is likely that this trend will pick up momentum as technology continues to mature. To take full advantage of these technological developments, the challenge is to design and develop systems using an integrative approach taking advantage of the human need and his or her physiological and cognitive capabilities and limitations.
Although wearable technology and integrated systems have shown significant developments during the last 15 years in terms of miniaturizing, comfort, functionality, data processing and communication, their application in the military environment is rather limited. Interestingly, this still seems to be the case with respect to the F35, for example. Yet, military personnel will increasingly operate in extreme and adverse environments and therefore could and should benefit from this technology, both from a performance enhancement as well as a safety and health perspective.
The challenge here is to bring together and integrate hardware technology developments and knowledge on human performance, health and comfort, and come up with solutions that work. This can only be achieved by using a systems approach where industry and research jointly solve issues like sensing and stimulation, protection and warning, clothing integration, data management, reasoning and prospective modeling.
Depending on the needs set forth by our partners, the following (sub) topics in the area of “wearable technology & systems” will be addressed:
The R&D activities can support the development of various products, such as:
Equipment: e.g. (smart) clothing, performance & health monitoring systems, HMI & HSI
Selection criteria: e.g. physical and mental profiles
Training programs for adverse and extreme environments during "normal" operational conditions as well as during the recovery from a mishap.