Boston small business develops impact-detecting garments for warfighters to assist combat medics

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – A Massachusetts-based, woman-owned small business is leveraging an Air Force-supported technology accelerator to improve high-tech clothing designed to detect and treat wounds on its own.

Boston-based Legionarius brought its impact-detecting garments to the Tech Warrior OPS, held in April at the National Center for Medical Readiness, a Wright State Research Institute Laboratory in Fairborn, Ohio. The Tech Warrior Enterprise, sponsored by the Air Force Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer Program, matches small business technology with warfighters and other first responders to use and evaluate.

The technology has the potential to help detect battle wounds, providing a significant benefit for the injured warfighter and the combat medics responsible for keeping them alive. The garment sends a distress signal and critical information – like wound type and location, as well as vital signs – to medics in the field. The garment also begins to apply compression to stop hemorrhaging in the event of a gunshot or other wound that punctures the skin.

Tech Warrior OPS allowed the company to test an early version of the technology with pararescue and explosive ordnance disposal teams during their training exercises.

“This event was a fantastic opportunity to get hands-on feedback from potential end-users and train to current procedures in tactical combat casualty care,” said Dr. Alexander Gruentzig, a co-founder of Legionarius.

Prior to attending Tech Warrior OPS, Legionarius had discussions with the Special Operations Command. The company is currently working with the organization to further develop the technology.

“Once the technology is more fully developed, we plan to come back to Tech Warrior OPS for a customized event,” said Gruentzig. “We want to explore linking our garment data stream with the appropriate Air Force system.”

In addition to Tech Warrior OPS, the newly expanded Tech Warrior Enterprise includes the annual Operation Tech Warrior exercise and Tech Warrior CONNECT events, which provide one-on-one assistance to small businesses throughout the year. All facets of the Tech Warrior Enterprise are intended to transition technology quickly to the field.

Participation in Tech Warrior events is free for companies, which only pay for travel and related expenses. Any small businesses with an Air Force research and development contract, especially those involved in the Air Force SBIR/STTR Program, may request to participate in the Tech Warrior Enterprise by working with its government contact or by contacting twenterprise@wright.edu.