Health Readiness and Performance System Wearable Physiological Sensor Development

The Department of Defense (DoD) seeks wearable systems capable of monitoring physiological data toward assessing real-time Warfighter health readiness and performance. The U.S. Army is developing the Health Readiness and Performance System (HRAPS) to provide actionable information to small unit leaders, in order to enable data-driven decisions to maintain and improve Warfighter performance and safety. As currently envisioned, HRAPS is an aggregate of the following five indices:

  1. Physiological Strain (heat or cold stress)
  2. Alertness and Fitness for Duty (fatigue measurement)
  3. Physical Readiness (musculoskeletal health)
  4. Neuro-Psychological Status (cognitive capabilities, mood)
  5. Wellness Status (infectious disease status)

Each of these indices will be computed primarily from wearable sensors, although standoff or portable sensors and other data sources may be required. “Measures” (i.e., features) will be computed from the raw sensor data. Predictive models will then use one or more measures to determine the Warfighter’s risk of injury or impaired performance. Model outputs, grouped into an index, will produce actionable information to be displayed on small unit leader End User Devices, aiding in real-time operational decisions. It is also anticipated that data and outputs will be aggregated and stored to support other operational and research needs.

To become an operational system suitable for broad military operational use, each HRAPS index must mature to meet the following criteria:

  • Actionable information that is clearly understood by small unit leaders, and relevant to current operational conditions and mission requirements.
  • Science-based predictive models that have been thoroughly vetted for the range of expected operational conditions, with outputs that are indicative of the Warfighter’s individualized risk.
  • Field-hardened wearable sensors with sufficient accuracy, user acceptance and ability to integrate with operational gear.
  • Integration into a tactical wireless communications package that follows Army PEO Soldier communications protocols and data network.
  • Integration of a wearable sensor and associated decision assist algorithms into a suite of wearable sensors that interoperate and communicate with each other.

Advanced development is required to translate MOMRP priorities into an ISSS-integrated fieldable system that is ready for acquisition.

In support of the overall objective of the HRAPS program, awards funded under this RPP aim to develop:

  1. a tactically secure communications platform with plug-and-play mission-tailorable sensors;
  2. real-time health and performance status of individual Service members in training and operations for heat, load, cognitive readiness, altitude, hydration, and alertness; and
  3. integration with combat casualty care diagnostics.

Awardees will modify a pre-existing wearable sensor. The project includes testing of the prototype device in the lab as well as in the field, design for manufacturing, manufacturing setup costs, and a first article run. The following minimum requirements for the device were sought:

  1. Measures and records heart rate, heart rate variability, skin temperature, activity level and respiration rate. Measurement accuracy is +/- 5% from gold standard measurements for each parameter. Already established accuracy data must be included with the proposal and is an evaluation factor for award.
  2. Runs simplified, validated algorithms (such as the EZ Temp heat strain algorithm developed by the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine (USARIEM)) that translates standard measurements into actionable information useful for leadership to make informed decisions.
  3. Must store 72 hours’ worth of data.
  4. Capability to transmit data (either raw sensor data or algorithm outputs) in real-time to an external device via tactical communications. Data transmission schemes can be manipulated to meet use cases and power requirements.
  5. Utilizes a rechargeable battery. Can last for at least 72 hours of operational use before needing battery recharge.
  6. Open architected to allow for access to raw data files and interoperability with Army and other DoD data management systems.
  7. Is ruggedized for operational use. Must withstand the rigors of a field environment (e.g., austere conditions).
  8. Can be worn for 72 hours without adverse impact on the skin.
  9. Weighs less than 2.5 ounces.
  10. Can be worn, operates and communicates while user is wearing full personal protective equipment and gear including body armor, helmet, uniform, boots, gloves, and backpacks. Cannot impede or restrict user movements or reduce user comfort.
  11. Can encrypt data for security.
  12. Shall be water resistant.
  13. Ultilizes Blue Tooth technology as a surrogate for wireless communications until PEO Soldier finalizes the required tactical wireless communications package (see additional points of consideration).

The research project award recipients were selected from the Offerors who responded to MTEC’s Request for Project Proposals (18-07-HRAPS).

LifeLens Physiologic Monitoring Platform – Ascent

Project Team: LifeLens Technologies, LLC
Award Amount: $28.68M
Project Duration: 49 months
Project Objective: This project is focused on the technology of wearable devices for physiological monitoring Warfighters, data transmission, and related algorithms. The Objectives for this project are to:

  1. Interface Ascent’s modular ‘plug‐and‐play’ hardware with a tactically secure wireless* communications platform or 3rd party device to achieve the program goals related to data transfer and archiving.
  2.  Design for manufacture (DFM) the Ascent wearable physiologic sensor platform to quantify in real‐time the physiological strain index (heat, load, cognitive readiness, altitude, hydration and alertness) of individual Service Members subjected to expected working conditions and for wear times of at least 72 hours.
  3.  Allow the collected data to be reliably analyzed, optionally compressed, and wirelessly sent for real‐time display and/or downstream archiving, reporting, and analysis.
  4. Integrate and validate the Ascent software for over‐the‐air (OTA) installation, update, and operation of externally developed algorithms (such as ECtemp™) and combat casualty care diagnostics.
  5.  Verify system performance and human factors during laboratory testing and field testing