Virtual Environment Study of Sensor Mix Effects on Ground Soldiers?Situational Awareness

Report No. ARL-TR-3626
Authors: Daniel D. Turner and Christian B. Carstens (both of ARL);
Date/Pages: October 2005; 185 pages
Abstract: The Human Research and Engineering Directorate of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory conducted an experiment to evaluate the form, fit, and user acceptance of the Future Force Warrior (FFW) body systems and headgear system ensembles (without functional electronics). The ensembles included new components and the addition of leader and Soldier variations. They were evaluated in the context of dismounted Infantry tactical activities. Additionally, the experiment investigated the form, fit, and comfort, of a chemical and biological (CB) overgarment with a functional personal air ventilation system (PAVS) and a functional personal air-purifying respirator (PAPR). The experiment was executed from 9 to 13 May 2005, with one Infantry squad as participants. Soldiers received familiarization training on the prototype equipment. The exercises included an overland open terrain environment, an urban warfare environment, and an individual movement techniques course. Results indicated that the Soldiers liked many aspects of the FFW equipment and concepts; however, some refinements are needed to improve the overall comfort of the components and further human factors evaluations are required. During the event, it became apparent that proper sizing of the chassis and ballistic belt will be critical to the overall success of the FFW program. The FFW chassis allowed the Soldier increased flexibility in ?customizing? his equipment for mission-specific tasks. The Soldiers liked the ballistic belt and often used it to carry additional equipment. The Soldiers accepted the ?up-armor? items for specific mission scenarios, but they almost universally disliked the neck ?up armor? option. The Soldiers felt the CB over-garment and two ventilation systems (PAVS and PAPR) provided a significant improvement over current gear. The ventilation systems reduced Soldier mobility and capabilities; however, the Soldiers felt the improved comfort was well worth the extra weight and reduction in capabilities. Two life sign detection system (LSDS) configurations were evaluated, and the consensus was that a combination of the two systems (strap system of the LSDS 1-C plus the Hidalgo monitoring device) will provide the most comfortable configuration. Two variations of design cycle III helmets were evaluated. The leader variation was very well received by the Soldiers who felt the added weight was not significant, considering the comfort of the helmet and the potential of added capabilities. The Soldier variation had some initial heat and perspiration issues which engineers appeared to have solved during the evaluation. Overall, the FFW ensembles need human factors refinements in order to meet comfort and fit issues. Future evaluations need to focus on the increased capabilities offered by functional systems and need to be conducted with functional electronics.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: October 1, 2005