Augmenting Human Capabilities


KSRD

Challenge

Soldiers on the ground are often required to carry more than 50% of their body weight (more than 40 kg). Transporting these loads over long distances puts significant strain on the musculoskeletal system. Many nations have developed programs to reduce soldier weight burden. One approach involves augmentation – combining bio-mechatronics and artificial intelligence – to address weight overload.

This project involved initial testing on a new device to reduce physiological workload to assess the utility and usability of this device for soldiers in combat.

Approach

A series of controlled user tests and evaluations were conducted with subject matter experts to assess the utility and usability of the device while the subjects wore the devices during selected combat tasks. Results from each user evaluation were then implemented into the design of future versions of the device.

Results

A series of design recommendations were provided to the device manufacturer and a series of baseline measures were collected to enable performance comparisons for future iterations of the device.

The Bottom Line

Helping people to do their jobs better is what we do. Bio-mechatronics are a great technology, but it’s really about understanding what workers need to do and finding creative ways to support their performance.

Project Contact: Chris Ste-Croix

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