Military Connection: High-Tech Gear Can Help Ease Marines’ Combat Burden

Military Connection

By Debbie Gregory.

One of the newest tools for the Marines is not a new weapon or body armor. Quite different. It’s a medical device that evaluates the gear Marines wear, day to day, to complete their missions.  The advanced 3-D body scanner can analyze the impact of heavy equipment carried by each Marine, and how it impacts them physically. Improvements can then be made to modify gear to improve individual mobility.

There have been many advancements to the equipment and technology that Marines need to carry; optics and night vision need batteries to work, and spares back up the batteries are needed. These add to the already burdensome packs required, meaning the average Marine can be toting upwards of 100 pounds into combat.

Continually hefting this weight day to day put added strain on joints and muscles, even for very fit personnel. This also leads to more rapid fatigue, and more strains and sprains, compromising the ability to carry out their mission. Additional compromises can be the inability to mobilize rapidly under combat situations, or maneuvering in areas needing unencumbered access. Longer term concerns are include chronic back injuries and arthritis.

GruntSim might appeal to the gamers of the world, but truly is the reality of smarter gear design. It simulates a Marine in a scenario with typical gear and typical environment. As the simulation progresses, the system will analyze every part of the individual’s body and the impact it has during the engagement. Developers can evaluate a Marine of any body shape, stature and physique. Ideally, with this data, equipment can then be modified and customized. Gear that should be for a larger Marine is not going to work on a slighter Marine, and thus the weight imbalance or poor weight distribution occurs.

The device was recently showcased at the Navy League’s 2015 Sea-Air-Space Exposition. Developers at the University of Iowa have just completed a five-year research program on the burden management system and is hopeful the system will be advantageous across all military personnel.

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Military Connection: High-Tech Gear Can Help Ease Marines’ Combat Burden: By Debbie Gregory