The vision for the future soldier is to be combat effective and also highly mobile, adaptive, networked, sustainable with total battle space situation awareness and information assurance. Therefore, he is equipped with night- vision goggles, radios, smartphones, GPS, infrared sights, a laptop as well as batteries to power them. Some of the missions the soldiers perform can take weeks, rather than days, without any ability to recharge; therefore he carries many spare batteries. Sometimes soldier carry seven types of batteries weighing up to 16 pounds for a 72-hour mission. All that weight slows down soldiers on foot, tethers them to constant resupply, and contributes to muscular and skeletal injuries caused by excessively heavy packs.
With the integration and the development of semiconductor technology, relying on the mobilization and comprehensive popularization of the Internet, the intelligent and flexible breakthrough of the manufacturing industry, Google wear glasses, smart bracelets, VR and other smart wearable devices have appeared one after another. In our vision, we have entered people’s lives.
These smart wearable devices can not only help people to feel the external environment they are in, but also realize the seamless connection and communication of human-machine information with the help of computers, the Internet or other sensing devices.
The past few years have seen the introduction of a number of wearable technologies, from fitness trackers to smart watches but with the increasing use of smart textiles, wearables are set to become ‘disappearables’ as the devices merge with textiles. Unlike today’s ‘wearables’ tomorrow’s devices will be fully integrated into the the garment through the use of conductive fibres, multilayer 3D printed structures and two dimensional materials such as graphene.
Driven by the civilian sector, under the trend of the future battlefield gradually turning to informatization and digitization, countries are vying to invest a large amount of human, material and financial resources to introduce smart wearable technology into the military field and to develop a military plan for smart wearable device systems. , initiated the development and application of related technologies, and achieved certain results.
Wearables for military personnel, like biometric sensors and printed heaters, can help give our soldiers an edge.
Smartwatches can help Air Force pilots, crew members identify dangerous fatigue. Always tired during flight, or this is a more systematic problem for the Mobile Air Force. Sustained fatigue can greatly affect the reflex required by the pilot to maintain the stability of the aircraft, as well as the coordination required to refuel, land or handle an emergency in the air.
Biometric sensors can help provide real-time feedback on soldiers’ health and flexible printed heaters can help speed up wound recovery time.
Thin and Flexible Heaters in Military Clothing
Stay warm in any weather condition by adding a printed heater to your gloves, pants, jackets, helmets, and boots. Printed heaters use silver and carbon conductive inks and can be heat transferred or sown into almost any kind of fabric. Safety and mobility are key benefits of printed heaters. Unlike traditional wired heaters, printed PTC heaters do not have any constricting or uncomfortable wires.
Biometric Sensors for Health Monitoring
Biometric sensors are a perfect solution for remote health monitoring in soldiers. By using conductive inks, sensors are printed onto a film, that can stretch with the clothing. Biometric sensors, with no movement limitations, can detect EKG, ECG, EEG, and other biometric data. Like the printed heaters, the sensors can be added to just about any fabric and incorporated into military gear.
Biometric sensors make it possible to monitor critical patient information from a remote location. The same goes for wearables for military personnel. Soldiers can be monitored while being out in the field. The biometric sensors can be used to track soldiers’ vitals such as heart rate or respiratory rate. They also provide remote access to information such as body temperature, which can be very important, especially when military personnel find themselves in dangerous situations.
Tracking Devices RFID tag
One of the technology profiles that is showcased on the DOD’s website features a monitoring program for the Navy. The profile is similar to that of Radio Frequency Identification or RFID tags. Usually, those kinds of tags are popular with products inside brick and mortar retail stores to help with inventory management.
An application for printed antennas in the defense industry is for each tag to be attached to an inventory item, person, or product. Security is a major concern for everyone, especially for the military. The tag can be programmed to sound off an alarm if the tag leaves a restricted room, or could be programmed to sound an alarm if the tag enters a restricted area.
Antennas can be made to send signals to receptors located throughout a building or ship. This way the product/person is being tracked while it is in motion. The printed antenna tag is so small that it can be inserted onto the smallest inventory objects or seamlessly added into clothing.
Another use of wearables for military personnel is performance monitoring. Smart clothing with the use of biometric sensors can monitor the performance levels of individuals. One great way of measuring the physical strain of an individual is to track their heart and breathing rates. By implementing biometric sensors into the military personnel’s clothing, it is easy to monitor muscle activity, muscle fatigue, and muscle symmetry.
Biometric sensors can also measure speed, acceleration levels, and distance traveled. When monitoring muscle activity, biometric sensors provide real-time data. This would be critical when determining the status of a soldier in the field.
Sensors like capacitive touch and force-sensitive resistors can be added to military devices to make the product more ideal for the environment. Capacitive touch is usually attached to a device instead of being implemented into a wearable.
Military wearables market
The market for military wearables — defined as smart electronic devices and equipment incorporated into a soldier’s clothing or worn on the body as implants or accessories — is projected to grow from $3.1 billion in 2022 to $3.4 billion by 2027, at a combined annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.8%, according to a new report by MarketsandMarkets, “Military Wearables Market.”
Armed forces from various nations around the world have been working to empower their soldiers with innovative technologies like advanced head mounted displays, body diagnostics sensors, advanced personal clothing, improved navigation & communication devices, and other types of military wearables in an effort to increase the level of protection for their soldiers.
New and advanced military wearables have been developed to improve the combat capabilities of the soldiers because of advancements in networked soldier technology and future soldier clothing. As the geopolitical divergence among nations increases, soldiers are being upgraded to achieve tactical superiority, which has increased the use of advanced weaponry technology to assure their protection from threats.
Global manufacturers of military wearables are continually aiming to provide a range of advanced technologies in the areas of communication and intelligence to help soldiers take immediate action and strategically on the battlefield. Companies creating modern military wearables have a strong emphasis on creating integrated modular military wearables to address deficiencies in lethality, mobility, survivability, sustainability and C4I. Defense forces from several nations are working to design and produce materials with ballistic content or even superior properties. When injured soldiers are unable to transmit a message for help, advanced technologies come in useful. In these situations, smart clothing recognises the concerns and delivers the appropriate messages via radio communication devices.
Based on end user, the land forces are projected to witness highest market share on account of the current design features of military wearable which augment the augment the capabilities of the land forces as the soldiers are constantly exposed to hazardous working conditions leading to an increased risk of loss of life.
Based on technology, the video & surveillance segment is projected to lead the military wearables market during the forecast period. Companies have been undertaking extensive research to develop integrated military wearables with enhanced capabilities to provide soldiers with survivability, sustainability, safety, mobility, command, control, communication, and intelligence. Advancements in the technology for military wearables has helped soldiers combat the tough situations whether it is war or weather. The new generation of night vision goggles is designed to provide improved vision in various environments, including dust, smoke, zero illumination, and subterranean. Thus, thermal cameras and night vision goggles are being widely adopted among soldiers, thereby driving the growth of the vision & surveillance segment of the market.
Based on wearables type, the headwear segment is projected to lead the military wearables market during the forecast period. There is huge demand due to the integration of the headwear with advanced technology (Augmented Reality (AR) & Virtual Reality (VR)) is the driven factor for wearables segment. Modern military wearables include a fire control computer, an integrated camera, and a display for enhanced low-light capability. For instance, Surface Optics Corporation developed a 3D camera technology for multispectral imaging that captures the information required to generate complete multispectral cubes with each focal plane exposure.
Asia Pacific accounted for the largest market share in 2022 due to enhanced adoption driven by threats such as terrorism, cross-border disputes, and sensitive multi-cultural issues. Most countries in the region envision to ensure infantry soldiers have increased lethality, survivability, and mobility while becoming self-contained combat machines. Increased defence expenditure and investments in the modernisation of various law enforcement agencies in these countries are also boosting the growth of the military wearables market in the region.
Major players operating in the military wearables market are BAE Systems PLC (UK), Elbit Systems Ltd. (Israel), Rheinmetall AG(Germany), Thales Group (France), Saab AB (Sweden), Aselsan A.S (Turkey), General Dynamic Corporation (US) are some of the market players.
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