Case Studies

Physiological Status Monitoring (PSM) Headband

June 7, 2021

AFFOA and the Defense Fabric Discovery Center (DFDC) at MIT Lincoln Laboratory developed 20 fully integrated physiological status monitoring headbands for a government sponsor. The sponsor was interested in being able to accurately monitor the physiological status of soldiers in a variety of environmental situations.

AFFOA and the DFDC developed a headband capable of monitoring heart rate, blood oxygenation (SPO2), and user motion with wireless data transmission capabilities along with a custom user-friendly smartphone application. A headband was chosen as the form factor because it guarantees accurate measurement while also reducing burden on the user since soldier helmets already contain a headband. In addition, a headband integrated into a helmet was an ideal solution for the high altitude jumpers for which the blood oxygenation sensing provides a critical health check during their missions. 

This headband demonstrated one of the benefits of textile-based sensing, which is to put the measurement at the most appropriate place on the body.  Placing sensing textiles on the forehead provides a higher fidelity signal than wrist-based optical sensing you might find in your smartwatch. 

We are continuing to iterate on this system as well as developing a roadmap for physiological status monitoring which includes everything from monitoring core body temperature to a variety of other targeted, mission-based health metrics, and the ability to integrate these sensing capabilities into various textile form factors.