Since the late 19th century, modern research on human performance has led to the study of cognitive abilities, physiological, and psychological factors that influence human capabilities.
Although significant pioneering efforts have been made in the 20th century and in recent decades, there are still several unexplored research areas that could potentially enhance the resilience and health of military personnel and warfighters. Key areas include understanding the neuroscience of performance, human-technology interaction, performance in extreme environments, individual variability, collaborative performance, and ethical approaches to performance enhancement. Additionally, long-term skill development, cross-disciplinary research, non-traditional performance metrics, and performance in virtual environments hold untapped potential for transformative discoveries.
Top institutions such as the U.S. Navy Naval Research Center (USA), the Canadian Armed Forces, and the French Armed Forces Biomedical Research Institute (IRBA) (France), are at the forefront of state-of-the-art studies pertaining to human performance, readiness, stress, fatigue, and fitness. Leveraging the Hexoskin and Astroskin smart garments with embedded health sensors and an end-to-end platform providing continuous health status and high-resolution data, these organizations are paving the way for deeper understanding and advancements in the fields of human physiology and performance optimization. From assessing the endurance, physical fitness and resilience of warfighters to unraveling the mysteries of physiological responses, their efforts promise to reshape our comprehension of human potential, enhancing readiness, and fostering safer and more effective operational environments.
One of the organizations leading the charge includes the team at the U.S. Naval Health Research Center located in San Diego that aims to improve the health, well-being, and performance of the United States military personnel and veterans. Their research revolves around monitoring and enhancing Warfighter performance and operational readiness through the integration of physical and cognitive monitoring.
The team at Naval Health Research Center uses cutting-edge wearable biometric sensors, including Hexoskin and Astroskin devices, to measure vital signs such as ECG, heart rate, oxygen saturation, and breathing rate in real-time and other important stress, fatigue, cognitive, and performance markers with heart rate variability (HRV). In their facilities that include simulation labs, driving simulators, and virtual reality (VR) environments, they are validating the accuracy and effectiveness of Hexoskin and Astroskin by comparing them with gold standard measurements. Their goal is to integrate solutions like Hexoskin & Astroskin with custom virtual reality programs and other research tools for comprehensive data analysis. The data collected will help them perform stress levels assessments, fatigue, and overall performance, leading to personalized training plans and strategies for stress and fatigue management for deployment in real-world scenarios.
Source: Astroskin Webinar: Amy Silder, PhD. Biomonitoring in Warfighter Performance
The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) studied the performance and reliability of the Hexoskin garment. A Canadian Forces Health Services Group reserve unit used the Hexoskin garment during a two-day military field exercise that included reconnaissance, reacting to enemy fire, and providing tactical field care to casualties.
The final exercise was conducted over two nights and three days in moderate weather conditions in British Columbia, Canada.
Hexoskin was found to be comfortable during various environmental and weather conditions while continuously collecting cardiac, respiratory, activity, and sleep data.
Another innovative project with Astroskin is led by the Agence Innovation Defense under the Ministère des Armées in France. The SPEEN project aims to monitor pilots during flights, measuring their real-time health parameters including blood oxygen levels with the Astroskin SpO2 pulse oximeter. The project aims to alert pilots of unnoticed situations and predict critical conditions using artificial intelligence. Conceived by Ship-of-the-line lieutenant Christophe and supported by Frigate Captain Gautier, both test pilots at the Centre d'expérimentations pratiques et de réception de l'aéronautique navale (CEPA). The research involving Astroskin has been conducted in partnership with the Institut de Recherche Biomédicale des Armées (IRBA), the Département de Médecine Aéronautique Opérationnelle (DMAO), Hexoskin and Knopé, Hexoskin's Distributor in France.
Source: Agence Innovation Défense
Thanks to their efforts and for enhancing flight safety by understanding and predicting unexplained physiological events during flight through individual data and AI, the team received the Prix de l'audace award given by the Ministère des Armées in 2022.
By tracing new paths in human performance research and innovative technology applications, these efforts can support not only the resilience and well-being of active military personnel and warfighters but also provide better support and care to veterans, and beyond.
These groundbreaking studies and projects can also extend to the lives of veterans who transition to civilian life. As we refine our understanding of stress, fatigue, and resilience, the impact of the work accomplished can influence how we approach healthcare and well-being services to improve the quality of life of active personnel and our retired service members.
As we navigate unexplored frontiers, the journey extends beyond the laboratory and battlefield, shaping a future where the dedication of our armed forces is met with a reciprocal commitment to their lifelong health and success.
Contact Hexoskin today to discuss how the Hexoskin & Astroskin end-to-end platform can support your projects.
"These shirts are designed to give athletes the same sort of data they could get from a performance lab—for example, heart rate recovery and lung capacity—but in more natural environments and without needing to be hooked up to a machine."
"Since the shirts went on sale in 2013, use by professional athletes has been growing. Several members of the Canadian Olympic team in Sochi last year used Hexoskin shirts, including sisters Justine and Chloé Dufour-Lapointe, who won gold and silver, respectively, in the dual moguls competition. The Brooklyn Nets strength and conditioning coach Dr. Jeremy Bettle also uses the shirts to track his players’ physiology both on and off the court. And Cirque du Soleil even uses Hexoskin to monitor its performers during training."
"According to Fournier, one future use of Hexoskin shirts could be screening for possible concussions in sports. Though the shirts would not provide sufficient data to diagnose a concussion, they could be used to pick up some of the early symptoms, including breathing and heart rate irregularities, allowing team doctors to work out which players might need closer medical attention."
Read the paper here: Hexoskin's biometric shirt offers wearable performance tracking
Bryan Burnstein, Head of Performance Science at Cirque du Soleil, describes which experiments his team has been carrying out these past weeks:
"Using a combination of Biometric data alongside objective and subjective data collected during live performance, our goal was to identify markers of central nervous system fatigue over time on Cirque du Soleil performers. Furthermore, we are cross-referencing this with mental effectiveness data to better understand the connection between mental effectiveness and quality of performance.View full article →