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Device detects impact of blasts: tiny device inside soldiers' helmets will gather data that could lead to better protection.

BAE SYSTEMS has developed a device that is being fitted inside soldiers' helmets in the US to analyse the forces sustained by the head in impacts and blasts.

The defence giant has delivered more than 5,000 Headborne Energy Analysis and Diagnostic Systems (Heads) to the US Army's 4th Infantry Division. The tiny devices, which measure overpressure and acceleration, fit inside the helmet shell and weigh just 1.2 ounces.


It is hoped that they will lead to a better understanding of the forces the skull is subjected to during a blast, leading to improved equipment designs and further research into and better diagnosis of brain trauma.

Sean Martin, BAE's director of business development for individual equipment in Phoenix, Arizona, said that soldiers would not even notice the device was there when wearing the helmet. 'Another advantage is that there is not any interference with any of the cabling or attachments that a fighter places on the outside of the helmet," he said.

Data from the device can be downloaded via a USB cable which also charges it. BAE is working on improved versions of Heads, which would be capable of downloading data via a wireless link, and of measuring additional forces such as rotational pressure. These could be out in the field in six months' time.

Martin said the system would allow designers of equipment such as helmets to refine designs. "It will allow them to 'regionalise' protection--to protect at a higher level the areas subjected to the greatest forces."

The technology has the potential to help create lighter kit. "We will have a much better understanding of what the forces are, and be able to then modify the performance specifications of equipment.

"I see this going beyond helmets and becoming part of the entire war ensemble," he said.

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Title Annotation:TECHNOLOGY; BAE Systems' Headborne Energy Analysis and Diagnostic Systems
Publication:Professional Engineering Magazine
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 11, 2008
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