T2 News

AFRL and OSU Partner for Mental and Physical Recovery

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Special operations groups in the Department of Defense endure long, grueling mental and physical training—preparation that classifies them as elite warfighters. Since most special operations personnel are not always accessible at their home bases, data from observations that monitor their human performance is not always readily available.

To assist with the rapid acceleration of human performance monitoring research, technology and tools for the battlefield, the Air Force Research Laboratory’s 711th Human Performance Wing (HPW) signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with The Ohio State University (OSU) for the unique hands-on insight required to conduct such studies. 

This collaboration will provide the 711th HPW access to immediate, continuous data so appropriate procedures can be developed using Division 1 college athletes who exhibit similar strength, power, and mentality as special operations warfighters.

Given OSU’s high-quality athletic program and its proximity to Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio, the 711th HPW will act as the sports science staff to OSU’s NCAA athletes and coaches.

All of the information collected will produce a daily report for measuring stress and recovery states, and determining the future workloads and specific recovery modalities to benefit athletes and, ultimately, warfighters. The data collected for personalized recovery are based on real-time exertion, daily readiness, and heart rate variability technology.

“Ohio State is a very evaluation-friendly program,” said OSU head football coach Urban Meyer via Instagram. “And that means if it’s not the very best—and that includes hydration, nutrition, training—then we’re going to get the very best. That goes for the full-time sports psychologist to the hydration, and nutrition working directly with the Air Force.”

711th HPW’s intent for this research is to help both injured and uninjured athletes and special operations warfighters in their personal recovery so they can continue to consistently train hard to be ready for a game or a mission. OSU operates and maintains the technology and receives daily sports science reports and analytics from AFRL researchers. The 711th HPW will determine what data should be collected and which sensors should be used to assist the coaching staff with personalized recovery methods.

“As a result of this agreement, the 711th HPW has access to all of the data collected and can directly transfer it into extremely useful analytics and reports for the coaches,” said Dr. Josh Hagen, the 711th HPW lead of the signature tracking for optimized nutrition and training team. “In turn, we can learn and develop advanced sports science analytics and methodologies that are directly applied to the Department of Defense. That’s the goal of CRADAs: Each side collaborates and brings something of value to the table.”

From a real-world perspective, understanding stress through heart rate variability technology and applying personalized recovery methods has the potential to assist many individuals both on and off the battlefield with mental and physical recovery.

The Air Force Technology Transfer Program Office was created to link technology, the Air Force mission, and the commercial marketplace by ensuring that Air Force science and engineering activities are transferred or intentionally shared with state and local governments, academia and industry.

To view the original press release on the U.S. Air Force’s website, visit http://bit.ly/2g04lm8.

Category: 
T2 News
Region: 
Midwest