Troops may someday deploy wearing small devices to help determine their risk of developing a traumatic brain injury (TBI). A blast sensor called the BlackBox Biometrics Blast Gauge, placed on a service member’s chest, shoulder and helmet, can document the pounds per square inch (PSI) of force they are exposed to over time, a Defense Department official said Wednesday.
Overall data can be viewed later by computer, but users can quickly see the approximate PSI they have experienced by looking at what color light the device is displaying: The green light is triggered by 1 to 4 PSI; amber at 4 to 16 PSI; and red at greater than 16 PSI.
The current DoD definition of TBI requires an exposure event, in addition to the patient displaying some kind of altered consciousness, such as memory loss or feeling dazed. Researchers are looking into biomarkers and chemical imbalances to show the presence of a TBI. Nearly 60 military units, each consisting of 12 to 360 troops, are currently wearing these blast sensors during training exercises, and the pilot program will follow them into deployment.