In preliminary tests, Palmer says, they have used participants who are "fresh" and not fatigued. But as work progresses, they plan to also conduct tests with subjects who are tired to see if they have trouble recognizing friend or foe on a radio call or taking a marksmanship test wearing night vision goggles, for example. "We'll add different layers of stress in a smart progression so that we can understand what each layer is adding to the challenge."
Overall, the kinesiology research team would like to be able to report to the military a great deal of new knowledge about the physical and mental trade-offs and limitations that come with soldiers carrying heavy loads, and of which a field commander can be aware.
"We'd like to contribute to commanders being able to make better decisions about what can be accomplished under certain conditions," Van Emmerik says. "For example, if the protective equipment has to be x, y and z, where can you expect the sharp drop in performance and how can you balance that with mission success?"
|Contact: Janet Lathrop|
University of Massachusetts at Amherst