A group of Department of Defense scientists and engineers created a mathematical algorithm that can accurately predict heat injury and warn users.
Packaged into a smartphone, smartwatch, or fitness tracker, the software system, known as 2B-Cool, collects and analyzes heart rate, accelerometer data, and skin temperature from wearable sensors, optionally adding air temperature from a weather app.
The modeling provides an accurate, real-time core temperature estimation and a 20-minute prediction window, with audible or vibration alerts triggered by dangerous temperatures.
Heat-related illnesses are a significant problem for the U.S. military, especially during deployments to localities with hot and humid climates. Between 2009 and 2013 there were 12,907 heat injuries across the services, including 1,757 cases of heat stroke, according to the researchers.
And despite prevention efforts, over 9,200 American high school students are treated for heat injuries and exhaustion every year.
Early recognition of heat stress combined with changes in activity and cooling strategies—such as cold-water immersion, water spraying, rest in an air-conditioned area, consumption of cold beverages, and ingestion of crushed ice—can reduce or prevent heat injuries.
However, certain circumstances make early recognition and intervention challenging. During athletic competitions, physical training, or on the job, athletes and workers may not see warning signs of a rising core temperature and heat injury.
The Army’s patent-pending software can continually learn the individual’s heat-stress response by automatically adapting the model parameters on the fly to provide increasingly accurate individualized core body temperature estimates.
Although not yet available for public download, businesses and entrepreneurs can license the technology for final development and delivery of a downloadable mobile app. Licensing fees are negotiable, and TechLink provides no-cost licensing assistance. The first step is to contact Quinton King, senior technology manager at TechLink.
- System provides an early warning sufficient for response by the individual prior to incapacitation due to heat
- System can automatically account for individual-specific variations in thermoregulatory responses due to acclimation and reactions to exogenous factors, such as clothing and environmental conditions
- Environmental data (ambient temperature and humidity) can be sourced from sensors in the wristband or wirelessly from an online weather resource
- Businesses can license US patent application number 2018039058 for commercialization
- TechLink provides companies with no-cost licensing assistance
- Potential for collaboration with Army researchers