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With advances in technology over the past decade, wearable under-armour personnel status monitoring (PSM) technologies are becoming more widely adopted by the military community. A company in Cambridge, Equivital, is at the forefront of developing such technologies and their most recent body worn sensor system, the EQ02 LifeMonitor, has already been snapped up by the US Marines and other international elite forces.

We take a look at Equivital, the brand behind mobile human monitoring systems that could shape the future of soldier welfare and readiness during both training and operations. As well as looking at the company and the evolution of the current products, we’ll take a sneak preview of the new Equivital Black Ghost Military training system – a real time situational awareness monitoring tool – launching later this year with an aim to heighten performance while enhancing safety on the training ground.

About Equivital

Equivital mobile human monitoring offers solutions for end-to-end human body monitoring, from the actual sensing and transmitting of data from the person, in real time, to providing actionable information and analysis of this in order to enhance development of training and welfare strategies.

Launched in September 2011, the Equivital EQ02 LifeMonitor is the company’s flagship product. The LifeMonitor is a body worn sensor system that can monitor heart rate, respiration, activity, acceleration and body and core temp, among other information. The product is designed with considerable data logging as well as real-time transmission capability. It is designed to be used during extreme activity, managing to deal with the noise that is experienced during movement and high levels of perspiration – one of the biggest selling points for its use in military training environments.

Programme manager from the US Marine Corps, Mark Richter, and Major David Wallis, have both previously reported that the Equivital system provided valuable information on the impact of heat, equipment load and terrain to allow assessment on the effectiveness of the marine during operational duties in Iraq.

With the use of this technology, future military operations could be shaped in part by measures defined by the equipment on readiness, effectiveness and equipment weight optimisation. The Equivital products are already being used by both training and research communities.

The LifeMonitor is a 35 gram, iPod Nano sized device consisting of a soft sensor belt/harness, worn across the chest, which fits a slim profiled Sensor Electronics Module (SEM). The ergonomics of the belt mean it can be worn and forgotten about – one of the company’s USPs and part of the company’s core intellectual property.

The SEM can quickly process large amounts of real time data which is why military users such as from the US Army have been snapping the technology up. The data is transmitted over the SEM’s integral wireless or wired interface in real-time, either to an onboard relay such as a tactical radio or mobile PC device where it can further combine other streams of information. This data can then be transmitted onward and further analysed as it appears on the computer screen or mobile phone. Using computer algorithms to extrapolate the data, the technology can be used to identify critical casualties, as well as train and recruit personnel for missions.

Ekta Sood from the Equivital team, says, “Our aim is that our devices and software should give the ability for data to be easily collected, used and understood by the users who need the information most. In addition the systems can collect raw data that can be shared with research communities, if required, for further development, modelling and validation of intelligence”

“The fact the system can be worn whilst moving around means, specifically for military use, that future it

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