PTSD Sensors for Returning Troops


The Pentagon wants to know how its soldiers are handling the transition from wartime to regular life. But getting them to see a counselor isn't easy, even in the age of Oprah. So the Defense Department's fringe science division is funding development of wireless sensors (scroll down) to tell whether a veteran is stressed or hitting the bottle too hard after coming home from deployment.stareA.jpgAFrame Digital and Barron Associates, both based in Virginia, are focusing on veterans recovering from battlefield injuries. They both are investigating a "low-cost, noninvasive 'trip-wire' system [that] required that functions as a safety net, detecting when assistance or intervention is needed and issuing advisories to health care providers concerning significant changes in important medical indicators." These monitors will "collect and analyze real time data of vital signs, patient activity, fall acceleration and location parameters to detect deviations." AFrame already makes a version for seniors, that picks up "pulse, temperature, and mobility" and comes with a "panic button and fall detection."Massachusetts' Erallo Technologies is focusing on whether a vet falls down from drink or stress, instead. According to the Associated Press, one in eight returning troops has PTSD symptoms. CNN puts it at one in five. Its "Intelligent, Wireless, Agent-based Health Monitoring Network for PTSD and Alcohol" will include "a wireless transdermal alcohol sensor, heart rate monitor and accelerometer."Presumably, like AFrame, Erallo is expecting its system will incorporate "socially acceptable form factors, secure wireless networks, intelligent analysis software, displays for medical personnel, and interfaces to medical record systems."But those form factors better be pretty dammn small. Because if a soldier feels shy about paying a private visit to a therapist, how eager is he going to be to walk around with some clunky armband?

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