Army’s Next-Generation Shockproof Helmets
Improvised explosive devices are one of the biggest threats to soldiers in Afghanistan and across the world. They unleash a shock wave that can travel about 1,000 feet per second and hit with a pressure of 100 pounds per square inch.
Helmets of the future will probably enclose the head for better protection, says Kenneth Curley, the physician coordinating the Army’s neurotrauma research while keeping tabs on other teams. Adding a face shield to combat helmets would cut about 80 percent of the pressure on the front of the brain, according to a software blast model published by Massachusetts Institute of Technology aeronautical engineer Raúl Radovitzky and his colleagues. Don Lee, the project officer of the “HEaDS-UP” Army Technology Objective, is developing shields for the face and other helmet technologies, which should be ready for review by 2013.
An updated version of the Land Warrior system already in use would show maps, locations of fellow soldiers and enemies, computer-aided weapons sighting and alerts from commanding officers.
Earbuds would automatically reduce sounds louder than 85 decibels to safe levels. A microphone would relay outgoing radio transmissions.
Face Shield and Integrated Mandible Protection
These guards deflect energy from a blast wave away from the eyes, nose and mouth.
The harness could support the added weight from the mask and prevent the head from snapping forward or side to side. The Army is also investigating a retractable option that would give full maneuverability when the harness isn’t needed.
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