Modern-day soldiers often carry more than 100 pounds in gear on to the battlefield, and this can result in reduced agility, fatigue, and permanent damage to the body.
A new program called ETOWL (Enhanced Technologies for Optimization of Warfighter Load) has recently been presented to the Marine Corps by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) to enhance the performance of the warfighter in this situation.
In this program developed by the Center for Computer Aided Design at the University of Iowa, a 3-D simulation with a color coded system is used to measure the pressure put on different parts the avatar, with green being good and red being unsafe. It also measures flexibility, balance, and center of gravity. It has seven different male and female body types to choose from.
ETOWL and its companion software are being handed to the Gruntworks Marine Expeditionary Rifle Squad. They serve as a ‘workshop’ to test upcoming technology that could help infantry Marines. Once it is in the Marine Corps hands, ETOWL will be renamed to GruntSim. At that time, the software (called the SANTOS human simulation environment) will be made available to the academic community for free from the center’s website.
ONR program manager Dr. Peter Squire said the benefits of ETOWL are endless. One example would be that the Marine Corp would be able to use the data from these tests to develop real life prototypes. Squire believes that this will not only prevent injuries, but will save time and money for unneeded trials
“It’s very exciting to see ETOWL transition from ONR prototype to a technology that will enhance human load and performance for the Marine Corps. This is the kind of research that’s very rewarding because it provides a direct benefit to our nation’s warfighters,” said Squire