Armour Integrity Monitoring System

Vlog: Armour Integrity Monitoring System

Bede O'Neill - Business Development Consultant, Defence

By: Bede O’Neill
Business Development Consultant, Defence

4th May 2018

Home » AIMS

Body armour worn by soldiers can become damaged through accidental collisions and knocks. In most cases, visual inspection of the armour surface is insufficient in ascertaining its integrity and, as a precautionary measure, the armour is shipped back to the OEM for extensive X-Ray analysis.

In our first vlog, Bede discusses our solution to this problem, how we approached this issue and what we learned.

Transcript

With regards to our new sensor, AIMS – armour integrity monitoring system originally started as an answer to a research call to reduce the 100% need to return the body armour for x-ray analysis. To establish its integrity, you need to send it back to the equipment manufacturer for x-ray analysis, which obviously incurs quite a large cost logistically but also you remove that piece of equipment from service and from circulation so it can’t be used.

There was a research call to understand whether this could be speeded up and whether there was another way of determining the integrity of the ceramic body armour without the need for x-ray analysis. Plextek answered this original research call and put forward quite a novel sensor solution in concept. What we delivered was the ability to understand whether the plate had been fractured or not.

The sensor system is quite big and needed to be accessed USB port which wasn’t really deemed practical. So we shrunk the concept down to a very small packaged sensor system, almost you would call it a fit and forget, where the interrogation of the sensor is via NFC, near-field communications and that is facilitated by a mobile phone handset, whether that be android or apple.

This allows us or allows the user to interrogate the status of the body armour without the need for specialist software, specialist laptops, leads or cables.

Body armour worn by soldiers can become damaged through accidental collisions and knocks. In most cases, visual inspection of the armour surface is insufficient in ascertaining its integrity and, as a precautionary measure, the armour is shipped back to the OEM for extensive X-Ray analysis.

In our first vlog, Bede discusses our solution to this problem, how we approached this issue and what we learned.

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Transcript

With regards to our new sensor, AIMS – armour integrity monitoring system originally started as an answer to a research call to reduce the 100% need to return the body armour for x-ray analysis. To establish its integrity, you need to send it back to the equipment manufacturer for x-ray analysis, which obviously incurs quite a large cost logistically but also you remove that piece of equipment from service and from circulation so it can’t be used.

There was a research call to understand whether this could be speeded up and whether there was another way of determining the integrity of the ceramic body armour without the need for x-ray analysis. Plextek answered this original research call and put forward quite a novel sensor solution in concept. What we delivered was the ability to understand whether the plate had been fractured or not.

The sensor system is quite big and needed to be accessed USB port which wasn’t really deemed practical. So we shrunk the concept down to a very small packaged sensor system, almost you would call it a fit and forget, where the interrogation of the sensor is via NFC, near-field communications and that is facilitated by a mobile phone handset, whether that be android or apple.

This allows us or allows the user to interrogate the status of the body armour without the need for specialist software, specialist laptops, leads or cables.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

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Armor Integrity Monitoring System (AIMS)

AIMS – Body Armour Smart Sensor for the Tactical Environment

Bede O'Neill - Business Development Consultant, Defence

By: Bede O’Neill
Business Development Consultant, Defence

16th August 2017

Home » AIMS

Throughout the ages, from earliest forms of protective shields, such as leather panels, chain mail to full armoured suits – body armour has always played a crucial role in protecting the lives of combatants. Modern day armed forces personnel wear configurations that can typically include ceramic body armour plates. Ceramic plates are highly effective at minimising the effects of projectiles presenting much greater stopping power than the soft armour variants typically found in lightweight ballistic vests. Whilst ceramic armour is hard and lightweight, its inherent design is to disperse the kinetic energy and, therefore, the penetration ability of the projectile by fracturing.

As a result, it is imperative that the ceramic body armour plate is regularly checked to verify the integrity of the ceramic structure and without specialist x-ray analysis it can be very difficult to spot this damage. The consequence of x-ray analysis as an integral element of maintenance support is a prolonged inspection cycle.

To address this issue, Plextek have developed a sensor system that removes the need for regular x-ray analysis. The Armour Integrity Monitoring System (AIMS) uses a small low power inertial sensor to detect impact events sustained by the plate. The wearer of the armour can then use a smartphone with near-field communication (NFC) to interrogate the AIMS sensor to check for plate damage following an impact event.

With an estimated five year operating life, the AIMS sensor is truly a ‘fit and forget’ device that can be retrofitted to existing ceramic body armour stocks. Whilst each plate requires only one AIMS monitoring sensor, a single smartphone can be used to check the condition of an entire deployed fleet of plates.

What AIMS delivers to the user is a first line confidence test to verify that their ballistic protection is fit for use. Previously only confirmed by x-ray analysis, AIMS provides an immediate status update ensuring that personnel have the protection that they deserve.

The introduction of AIMS to an existing fleet significantly drives down the equipment whole life costs by removing the logistic and unit costs incurred when dispatching body armour back to the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) for specialist x-ray analysis. As an active monitoring sensor, AIMS continues to provide an updated status of the body armour even if it has been in storage for a significant period since the last x-ray.

A truly smart sensor for the tactical environment, AIMS can be reconfigured to record multiple impact events. This information, presented on the smart phone app, can be used by medical professionals to help understand the trauma that the user has experienced. This valuable data could be used to help triage patients and diagnose the possibility and likely severity of internal injuries.

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Throughout the ages, from earliest forms of protective shields, such as leather panels, chain mail to full armoured suits – body armour has always played a crucial role in protecting the lives of combatants. Modern day armed forces personnel wear configurations that can typically include ceramic body armour plates. Ceramic plates are highly effective at minimising the effects of projectiles presenting much greater stopping power than the soft armour variants typically found in lightweight ballistic vests. Whilst ceramic armour is hard and lightweight, its inherent design is to disperse the kinetic energy and, therefore, the penetration ability of the projectile by fracturing.

As a result, it is imperative that the ceramic body armour plate is regularly checked to verify the integrity of the ceramic structure and without specialist x-ray analysis it can be very difficult to spot this damage. The consequence of x-ray analysis as an integral element of maintenance support is a prolonged inspection cycle.

To address this issue, Plextek have developed a sensor system that removes the need for regular x-ray analysis. The Armour Integrity Monitoring System (AIMS) uses a small low power inertial sensor to detect impact events sustained by the plate. The wearer of the armour can then use a smartphone with near-field communication (NFC) to interrogate the AIMS sensor to check for plate damage following an impact event.

With an estimated five year operating life, the AIMS sensor is truly a ‘fit and forget’ device that can be retrofitted to existing ceramic body armour stocks. Whilst each plate requires only one AIMS monitoring sensor, a single smartphone can be used to check the condition of an entire deployed fleet of plates.

What AIMS delivers to the user is a first line confidence test to verify that their ballistic protection is fit for use. Previously only confirmed by x-ray analysis, AIMS provides an immediate status update ensuring that personnel have the protection that they deserve.

The introduction of AIMS to an existing fleet significantly drives down the equipment whole life costs by removing the logistic and unit costs incurred when dispatching body armour back to the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) for specialist x-ray analysis. As an active monitoring sensor, AIMS continues to provide an updated status of the body armour even if it has been in storage for a significant period since the last x-ray.

A truly smart sensor for the tactical environment, AIMS can be reconfigured to record multiple impact events. This information, presented on the smart phone app, can be used by medical professionals to help understand the trauma that the user has experienced. This valuable data could be used to help triage patients and diagnose the possibility and likely severity of internal injuries.

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