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Army October 25, 2012
UNSEEN damage to the
brain that might go unde-
tected will be a thing of
the past with the rollout
of small, hi-tech devices to capture
events within explosive situations.
These blast sensors are being
attached to about 400 soldiers in
Afghanistan to better determine the
effects improvised explosive devices
and other blast impacts have on a sol-
In November last year, the
Army asked the Defence Materiel
Organisation to investigate a blast
sensor capability that could be used
to record the severity of exposure and
impact during a combat-related blast
event or explosion.
Diggerworks was tasked under
Project Cerebro and is conducting
an in-theatre trial collecting data for
analysis, which will assist command-
ers and medical staff in supporting
the medical treatment of soldiers.
Diggerworks Director Col Jason
Blain said more than 10,000 devices
would be rolled out during the next
"Soldiers will wear three blast
gauges -- outside their helmet, on
their non-firing shoulder and one on
their chest," he said.
Defence Materiel Minister Jason
Clare said it was important to make
sure deployed soldiers had the equip-
ment to do their jobs and help protect
"This small piece of equipment
can help do that," he said.
"The pressure wave that is caused
by an IED can collapse the lungs of
a soldier and it can also cause enor-
mous damage to the brain, that's why
these devices are important."
Through a partnership with the US
Defence Advanced Research Projects
Agency (DARPA), Diggerworks has
gained access to the blast gauge sys-
tem initially designed by them but
now manufactured commercially by
Black Box Biometrics.
The ADF has been loaned 1920
sets and two activation/recovery
kits for immediate field use while
DARPA trials the same system with
US forces in Afghanistan.
A liaison officer from
Diggerworks was deployed to
Afghanistan in late August to coor-
dinate the trial in conjunction with
the US military and supported by a
DARPA field representative.
Col Blain said field testing
with Australian soldiers began on
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writing and chain
by email to
Blast gauges introduced
Soldiers will receive more accurate medical treatment after explosions thanks to a trial device, Cpl Nick Wiseman reports.
September 24 and would continue
through to August next year.
"Early feedback from our
deployed liaison officer indicated
that initial fielding of the blast gauge
capability was 80 per cent complete,"
"Feedback during training from
soldiers has been supportive and staff
have reported no issues."
The blast gauges are the size of a
digital watch, weighing less than 29g,
and are attached to a soldier's body
armour and helmet.
Once triggered the gauges will
record pressure from two millisec-
onds before the blast until 18 mil-
liseconds after and operate indepen-
The gauges worn by soldiers will
display a yellow, green or red light
indicating the level of pressure expe-
rienced from the blast, assisting med-
ics in assessing the soldier and pro-
viding a quicker medical response in
accordance with current procedures
for the management of mild traumatic
Defence Science and Personnel
Minister Warren Snowdon said meas-
uring the blast exposure would help
with the treatment and recovery of
"What it will mean for the future
is that having these measurements
we'll be able to tell what impact has
been on individual soldiers," he said.
"It's a great initiative and I want to
thank the Diggerworks Program for
their role in it."
Wired up: Blast sensors are being attached to soldiers in Afghanistan to better determine the effects IEDs and other blast impacts have on a soldier's'
health. They will be worn on helmets, shoulders and chests.
one on their
-- Col Jason Blain,
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