Our troops may soon benefit from a potentially life-saving innovation. The US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine (USARIEM) unveiled the Heat Injury Prevention System (HIPS) on Thursday, February 29.

Battling Heat on the Frontlines with HIPS

Heat injuries are a hidden threat on the battlefield, but the USARIEM is fighting back with a groundbreaking innovation: HIPS, a wearable device combatants can wear under their uniforms.

This next-generation technology could be the answer to the Army’s long-standing battle against heat injuries, providing its unit leaders with real-time insights into a Service Member’s heat illness risk while in the field.

HIPS is a waterproof, wireless device that straps to a soldier’s chest and monitors heart rate, skin temperature, estimated core temperature, and gait stability, offering a comprehensive picture of an individual’s heat stress.

“HIPS allows us to identify heat illness before it happens, taking preventative action before it’s too late,” explained Dr. Mark Buller, a Senior Principal Investigator at USARIEM.

Key Components of HIPS

HIPS consists of three key components:

  • Lightweight chest-worn sensor: Similar to commercially available fitness trackers, HIPS is comfortable and unobtrusive.
  • Advanced algorithms: These algorithms analyze data from the sensor to assess an individual’s heat stress and risk of heat illness.
  • Real-time monitoring app: This app provides unit leaders with a clear picture of individual, squad, and even company-sized element heat risk status. When paired with a geolocation device, leaders can also see the location of their troops.

Extensive testing at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island has yielded promising results. The research team, led by Dr. Buller, collected data from over 14,000 Marines participating in the grueling final Crucible training event.

“We’ve developed a heat strain index based on real-world data, allowing us to predict heat illness with unprecedented accuracy,” said Emma Atkinson, a Biomedical Researcher at USARIEM.