Magazine article National Defense

Smart Vests Take Pressure off Troops

Magazine article National Defense

Smart Vests Take Pressure off Troops

Article excerpt

The heavy loads that soldiers carry on the battlefield--including more than 20 pounds of body armor--often lead to fatigue and injuries. Technology is now being developed that may allow troops to better distribute their loads so they're more comfortable.

Researchers at Pennsylvania-based KDH Defense Systems say the solution may be a high-tech vest that is outfitted with sensors to identify areas of the body that bear the brunt of the loads.

The company has been working with Philadelphia University on the project, which is funded by the Air Force. The final vest design likely will include a torso strap that would have a looser fit than standard body armor vests.

Researchers declined to provide other details, as the vests are still being developed. Military officials have already worn prototypes, and a final design should be ready by 2011, says Project Manager Jeff Payne.

"This vest-carriage system could lead to less fatigue, less vertebrae, neck and shoulder issues," he says. "It will be more comfortable and have a better center of gravity. …

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