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News

Helmet Mounted Energy Sensors Assist In Injury Analysis


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BAE Systems (Land And Armaments)
: 08 July, 2010  (Application Story)
BAE Systems is supplying the Headborne Energy Analysis and Diagnostic System for use in conflict zones to determine extent of battle inflicted head injuries to assist in diagnosis and treatment
BAE Systems has received an initial order of $17 million from the US Army for Headborne Energy Analysis and Diagnostic Systems (HEADS) to help address combat-related traumatic brain injuries (TBI), which according to many medical professionals are fast becoming a signature injury of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

The multi-million dollar award is part of an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract with a maximum value of $105 million. BAE Systems was one of two contractors selected.

Designed to better monitor soldiers and help identify their risk levels for combat-related TBIs, BAE Systems introduced its first HEADS sensor to the military in 2008. Since then, nearly 7,000 of the company’s HEADS units have been fielded to the US Army and US Marine Corps—a testament to BAE Systems’ commitment to integrating innovative lifesaving technologies into survivability products for troops.

With the new order, thousands of the company’s Generation II HEADS helmet sensors will be produced and fitted inside the combat helmets for US troops serving abroad.

“Diagnosing mild to moderate combat-related TBIs can be challenging. For example, following an explosion from a roadside bomb, soldiers will sometimes continue with their mission, unaware that the concussion from the blast may have lingering effects,” said Joe Coltman, vice president of BAE Systems’ Personnel Protection Systems business. “With the Generation II HEADS sensor, even if the injury isn’t obvious, once the sensor collects data indicating a blast has exceeded a certain threshold, a LED light located on the sensor and will be activated and begin blinking, signifying to soldiers that they may have sustained a concussion warranting immediate attention.”

In addition to alerting soldiers of possible concussions, the HEADS smart sensor is designed to provide medical professionals with important data that may help determine the severity of a possible TBI. “With our Generation II HEADS sensor, we’re providing medical teams with a valuable diagnostic tool that utilizes radio frequency technology,” added Coltman. “With our new ‘smarter’ sensor, if a soldier is exposed to a blast, possibly sustaining a concussion, not only will the HEADS visual display be triggered at the time of the event, but once the soldier enters a specified area, such as forward operating base or dining facility, a series of strategically placed antennae will scan all available HEADS units and send data to a computer, identifying any soldiers who may have sustained a blast-related brain injury.”

The sensor itself is small, lightweight and can be secured inside virtually any combat helmet. Although imperceptible to the wearer, it is designed to continuously collect critical, potentially lifesaving data, including impact location, magnitude, duration, blast pressures, angular and linear accelerations as well as the exact times of single or multiple blast events. That information is then securely stored until it can be quickly downloaded and analyzed by medical teams using a simple USB or wireless connection.

Compatible with most helmets, the HEADS sensor is unobtrusive and won’t interfere with additional helmet-mounted equipment soldiers may need, such as goggles and other sensors.

Deliveries on the initial Generation II HEADS order are expected to begin in April 2011, and be completed by July 2011.

BAE Systems is a leading provider of soldier protective and load carriage equipment in the United States, producing a significant portion of the nation’s body armour, tactical vests, combat helmets and load carrying systems. Not only is the company focused on the design, development and production of leading edge survivability products, its integration of advanced materials into manufacturing, rigorous product testing, and field trials support the company’s focus on the men and women who serve in the armed forces.
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