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Wearable tech will identify if soldiers are ready for conflict


Fitting soldiers with a “performance patch” could give them an edge, so the Defence Department is looking for scientists who can make it happen.

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In an invitation to the research and innovation sector, the department has spoken of an adhesive material patch that could sample and report on a molecular biomarkers beneath the skin.

“Accurate prediction of an individual’s capacity to physically and cognitively perform prior to and during a mission would be a powerful tool for both training and operational performance,” the department states in documents obtained by InQueensland.

“Real-time biomarkers combined with less invasive wearable technologies and the analytical potential of artificial intelligence promise a level of insight and predictive power that would make the performance patch an essential tool for performance optimisation, potentially delivering a critical capability edge within many different mission scenarios.”

Separately, in an effort to improve cognitive abilities, the department has sought advice on whether there is benefit in intervening in the gut microbiota of Defence personnel.

“Emerging research suggests that the human gut microbiota may provide a potential avenue to enhance cognition and also mitigate the detrimental effects of ‘dysbiosis’ caused by external stressors that can reduce cognitive efficiencies,” the department states.

An exploratory, observational study has already been undertaken on Army recruits during training to determine the impact of military stressors on the gut microbiota and the effect on cognitive performance and readiness.

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