HomeNewsArticle Display

AFRL team enhances safety for survival specialists through wearable health monitoring technology

U.S. Air Force Capt. Logan Hawke, a pilot assigned to the 16th Airlift Squadron, U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. William Davis and U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Randall Moss, loadmasters assigned to the 16th Airlift Squadron, communicate with rescue forces with a radio during a survival, evasion, resistance, and escape exercise August 21, 2019, in North, South Carolina. SERE specialists assigned to the 437th Operations Support Squadron conducted this exercise in order to identify potential areas of improvement in both SERE training and equipment provided to aircrew in case of a potential isolating event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Duncan C. Bevan)

Capt. Logan Hawke,16th Airlift Squadron pilot, Master Sgt. William Davis and Staff Sgt. Randall Moss, 16th Airlift Squadron loadmasters, use a radio to communicate with rescue forces during a survival, evasion, resistance, and escape exercise in North, South Carolina, Aug. 21, 2019. SERE specialists conducted the exercise to identify potential areas of improvement in both SERE training and equipment provided to aircrew in case of a potential isolating event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Duncan C. Bevan)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Randall Moss and U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. William Davis, loadmasters assigned to the 16th Airlift Squadron, sort through survival equipment during a survival, evasion, resistance, and escape exercise August 21, 2019, in North, South Carolina. SERE specialists assigned to the 437th Operations Support Squadron conducted this exercise in order to identify potential areas of improvement in both SERE training and equipment provided to aircrew in case of a potential isolating event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Duncan C. Bevan)

Staff Sgt. Randall Moss and Master Sgt. William Davis,16th Airlift Squadron loadmasters, sort through survival equipment during a survival, evasion, resistance and escape exercise in North, South Carolina Aug. 21, 2019. SERE specialists conducted the exercise to identify potential areas of improvement in both SERE training and equipment provided to aircrew in case of a potential isolating event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Duncan C. Bevan)

A Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape Specialist assigned to the 437th Operations Support Squadron walks across a dirt road during a survival, evasion, resistance, and escape exercise August 21, 2019 in North, South Carolina. SERE specialists assigned to the 437th Operations Support Squadron conducted this exercise in order to identify potential areas of improvement in both SERE training and equipment provided to aircrew in case of a potential isolating event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Duncan C. Bevan)

A 437th Operations Support Squadron survival, evasion, resistance and escape specialist walks across a dirt road during a SERE exercise in North, South Carolina Aug. 21, 2019. SERE specialists conducted the exercise to identify potential areas of improvement in both SERE training and equipment provided to aircrew in case of a potential isolating event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Duncan C. Bevan)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFNS) --

An Air Force Research Laboratory team recently delivered version 2.0 of the Survival Health Awareness Responders Kit to instructors at Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis, Texas, a 28,000-acre site used to train survival, evasion, resistance and escape specialists.

With SHARK, sensors are embedded into shirts to transmit key metrics including heart rate and estimated core temperature from smartphones to a server. As students undergo physical endurance tests during extended periods of isolation, the system allows instructors to monitor the data in real-time and issues alerts for heart rate spikes and significant increases in temperature. Since the device identifies the user’s location, medical personnel can quickly respond to those in need of care.

Second Lt. Matthew Dickinson, AFRL 711th Human Performance Wing biomechanical engineer, said SHARK 2.0 is user-friendly and more secure. He explained instructors and students are pleased with the streamlined setup process and the new web interface.

Maj. Toby Andrews, 66th Training Squadron, Detachment 3 commander, said he appreciates that SHARK “gives (instructors) real-time alerts on the health and well-being of students.” The system “truly eases my mind as a commander,” he said since it “allows us to provide preventative care (in cases) that could otherwise lead to serious medical situations.”

Prior to SHARK, instructors checked on trainees at regular intervals to ensure their well-being. In certain cases, they administer ice baths to students with elevated body temperatures, said Tech. Sgt. John Garcia, a SERE instructor. However, since the introduction of this monitoring technology, zero ice baths have been required because the system alerts instructors before students reach what they call “the danger zone.”

To develop version 2.0, the SHARK team enlisted the help of Cedarville University students majoring in computer science. Loren Baum, who now works full time at 711th HPW, improved the code for his senior design project. He optimized the software, added functionality, enhanced security measures and streamlined the startup process.

Baum explained the team moved SHARK from the mobile app arena to the web to make the system usable in a wider variety of scenarios. With the new approach, instructors simply log into a website from any computer to monitor students’ health status instead of launching an application, which requires installation and manual upgrades.

The team simplified the startup process with Quick Response codes that automatically input students’ information when scanned, Baum said. This measure reduced the total setup time from one hour to five minutes and makes it easier for students and instructors to begin a new session.

In June 2019, the team traveled to JB San Antonio-Camp Bullis and conducted initial tests with version 2.0. Once the team integrated additional software improvements, SERE instructors officially launched the upgrade in September.

The SHARK team continues to work with other squadron key leaders to address related needs. One such application involves using the included heart rate variability measurement to provide real-time feedback regarding students’ reactions to various training stressors.

This data would enable instructors to evaluate the effectiveness of interrogation techniques and determine the extent to which they affect individuals, said 1st Lt. David Feibus, a former software team lead who is now a student at the Air Force Institute of Technology.

While SHARK is useful in various situations, Air Force instructors currently rely on this tool to offer “strenuous exercises in the safest manner possible,” said Ted Harmer, a 711th HPW engineer who also leads a medical readiness personnel recovery training research team. When administering physical tests, instructors must achieve the purpose of the training and minimize negative impacts, whether they be physical or emotional, he explained.

SHARK technology was born when the U.S. Air Force Survival School at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, opted to include more proactive safety measures in its training programs. Since AFRL had experience with wearable monitoring technology, leadership from 711th HPW offered to develop a solution for the SERE instructors during an immersion visit.

“Going in, we knew we needed a broad range of skill sets,” said Dr. James Christensen, a product line lead within the 711th HPW. He explains that to produce an effective system, the team relied on expertise in wearable devices, electronics, software development, communications, human factors and physiology.

“We pulled together capabilities from several different parts of the organization to assemble the sensors, develop the software to pull sensor data together and then build the communications capability to then send that data and be able to monitor it continuously and remotely.”

Following the initial design and development, the team arranged field tests with end-users. Several team members lived with JBSA-Camp Bullis instructors for one week to test SHARK 1.0 in 2018. Now, a year later, an upgraded system is in the field.

In the meantime, the SHARK team is also working with other groups who are interested in acquiring this technology including firefighters, NASA scientists and Army special forces. Members are currently exploring a version of the system that the Department of Defense Fire Academy can use under fire protection gear to prevent heat injuries.

Engage

Twitter
RT @USAFReserve: Medical IMAs mobilized for historic #COVID19 response - https://t.co/evp9O1QuQp (Story by @HQRIO) #ReserveReady #ReserveRe
Twitter
“Burnout and compassion fatigue are real risks for health providers, especially now with so many additional stresso… https://t.co/XkSlRLDTp9
Twitter
The F-16 is able to fly more than 500 miles, deliver its weapons w/ superior accuracy, defend itself against enemy… https://t.co/UjTvbH9G1x
Twitter
Airmen unload a C-130 Hercules @386thAEW. The 386th AEW is @CENTCOM’s theatre gateway & is responsible for deliveri… https://t.co/ScQnaO21Qq
Twitter
Know the tools designed to serve you! https://t.co/obVBkZzapj
Twitter
When #COVID19 disrupted her family's routine, Ayesha Beck, a Phase II Radiology instructor @59_MDW, had to figure o… https://t.co/qf0tyWPbuM
Twitter
.@USAFReserve's Capt. Katie Saunders took a break from her regular job as a Family Nurse Practitioner to serve w/ t… https://t.co/0jawDHGhdx
Twitter
.@RenovoDerm has developed a synthetic version of an advanced skin graft which can be used in wound and burn care.… https://t.co/nULcRAETwa
Twitter
“We’re doing a lot of work toward becoming a more diverse force, but I think we have the opportunity in front of us… https://t.co/qqj6wY0A7v
Twitter
RT @MINationalGuard: Providing exceptional service to Michiganders, the Michigan National Guard has faced unprecedented challenges in respo…
Twitter
Check out how the @F35DemoTeam performs the Inverted-to-Inverted Pass maneuver. #ReadyAF #AimHigh https://t.co/oewD5hsMjH
Twitter
"We’re the big tent service because we have the most diverse mission set. We do leaflets to nukes. We ought to be t… https://t.co/uTsRSr98qA
Twitter
#Staysafe while using your local library. Great job @RamsteinAirBase! https://t.co/m2enNSRWji
Twitter
RT @TheLeeGreenwood: Honored to have collaborated with the @usairforce band and @HomeFreeGuys on my song #GodBlessTheUSA ! Happy Birthday A…
Twitter
.@AFResearchLab shows off some of innovations in response to #COVID19. #ReadyAF #InnovativeAF #AimHigh https://t.co/86UWQQS08i
Twitter
U.S. forces at Yokota Air Base teamed up for training needed to get their special tactics operators where they need… https://t.co/FXxtm6hTKP
Twitter
RT @AirmanMagazine: Happy Independence Day, America! https://t.co/FHQUHvpxpS
Twitter
Thunderbirds, bombers, fighter jets fly over city of Boston on Fourth of July https://t.co/Td08zVocnI
Twitter
The @USDA partners w/ Andersen AFB to prevent the spread of the invasive brown tree snake. USDA & their detection d… https://t.co/aFCE3kmSwP
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,248,973
Follow Us