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U.S. Army Offers Endurance Sport Innovations for Licensing

February 10, 2021

Natick, Massachusetts — The U.S. Army has the answer to – and offers licensing for – devices of endurance athletes’ dreams. A hydration pack that delivers customized hydration and nutrition mixes without contaminating water reservoirs? Yes, ma’am. A real-time algorithm to allow heart-rate monitors to display core body temperature? Sure. A mechanism to keep fingers warm and dexterous in frigid temperatures? You’ve got it.

The U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine (USARIEM) studies human performance in extreme conditions and develops innovations that monitor and improve the health, performance, stamina and effectiveness of U.S. troops. Many of the innovations the institute devises are then made available for licensing and commercial use by the public.

Among the innovations the USARIEM currently has available for licensing are:

  • A prototype Nutrient Delivery System that enables soldiers, athletes, outdoor enthusiasts and others who use hydration backpacks to easily add nutrition, electrolytes, vitamins or medicine to their water, on the go, and without contaminating the pack’s water reservoir.

The system enables the user to easily drink nutrition and water through one drinking tube without adding anything but water to the main hydration reservoir.

The system works by connecting a refillable concentrate bag and a separate drinking tube and bite valve to the hydration pack. The system can be used with any brand of personal hydration system. It can also accommodate any premade or personalized additive.

A flow manifold or mixing valve would need to be incorporated near the bite valve of the drinking tube, to allow the user to control the water-to-additive mix ratio on the go.

By limiting the water reservoir to hold only water, users reduce the chance of contaminating the reservoir with mold, mildew or bacteria. It also increases convenience for hydration-pack users by eliminating the need to premix nutrition and improving ease of cleaning after use.

(U.S. Patent 7,533,786 and U.S. Patent 7,658,303)

  • An easy-to-implement, real-time algorithm, called ECTemp, that enables heart-rate monitors to estimate and display core body temperature.

The simple invention bypasses the difficulty of directly measuring core body temperature. Instead, it calculates the change in core body temperature using heart-rate data. It doesn’t require a temperature sensor.

Field testing has demonstrated accuracy of the algorithm even when it is run continuously around-the-clock for several days.

The addition of ECTemp would allow a heart-rate monitor to notify an athlete or worker when the predicted core-body temperature exceeds a predetermined threshold, allowing the individual to take measures to avoid heat illness or undue stress that could impact future performance.

(U.S. Patent 10,702,165)

  • A prototype Personal Heating Dexterity Device that increases hand warmth in cold conditions without gloves. The system enables individuals to perform fine-motor tasks with bare hands in cold weather without loss of comfort or dexterity.

The system works by placing small heating pads on a user’s cheeks, forehead and arms. The facial heating pads stimulate the trigeminal nerve and signal the body to send blood to the hands. Small heating pads on the forearms additionally boost blood warmth on the final stretch to the hands and fingers. The pads are connected to a set-point temperature control.

“Heating the face exploits a physiological reflex and tricks the body into believing it is warm rather than cold and increases the blood flow to the fingers,” the patent application states. “By combining facial and forearm heating, the invention gives bare-handed individuals the increased manual dexterity and thermal comfort needed in cold weather environments.”

While still a prototype, the USARIEM is working with medical and materials development arms of the Army to advance the technology to be portable and user-friendly.

(Patent pending)

About the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine

The U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine (USARIEM) provides solutions to enhance warfighter health and performance through biomedical research. USARIEM was established in 1961 as a research laboratory under the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command. Today, the institute is internationally recognized as the Department of Defense’s premier laboratory for warfighter health performance. USARIEM focuses on environmental medicine, physiology, physical and cognitive performance, and nutrition research. The institute conducts its mission by leveraging its unique capabilities, facilities and global partnerships with industry, academia and the government. USARIEM conducts research both in their laboratory in Natick, Massachusetts and in military camps, posts and stations across the world. In the face of a rapidly changing, complex conflict environment, USARIEM continues to be a leader in human performance research by anticipating future demands and developing solutions for Army leadership, ensuring that warfighters are ready to fight, win and safely return home.

Contact:

Quinton King
quinton.king@montana.edu
406-994-7795

Mallory Roussel
USARIEM Public Affairs and Protocol Office
508-206-2370
mallory.e.roussel.civ@mail.mil