A pair of Australian SMEs have signed an MoU to develop lightweight wearable devices able to monitor exposure to chemical and other agents and to alert the wearer and others nearby, technology that is of interest not only to soldiers in the field, but also to emergency services first responders.
Adelaide-based DEWC Systems specialises in electronic warfare and communications, while J3Seven from Cairns specialises in protection of soldiers in dangerous environments. The two companies are collaborating on developing a wearable sensor array able to detect chemical, biological or radiological agents.
“It will tell the person that they are in a chemical or highly lethal environment very quickly,” J3Seven chief executive Gareth Molnar told ADBR at LAND FORCES 2021.
That allows the soldiers to don protective equipment or to exit the area.
DEWC chief executive Ian Spencer added, “Depending on the exposure they have had they will be able to track their overall health over time. The devices will be networked so that the commanders always know the state of their troops.”
The device itself will attach to the soldier’s body, allowing monitoring of vital signs. This isn’t for a particular defence requirement, though Defence does have the wider Project LAND 2110 requirement to enhance its chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear defensive (CBRND) equipment.
“We are doing this because we believe that there’s a need for it,” Spencer said. “We want to bring to bear the stuff we have already been working on and into a product that is immediately useful to militaries everywhere.”
Molnar said there was nothing else available delivering this capability. “No-one has come close yet. This will be a world first,” he said. “We reckon we will have an alpha model within about three months.”