U.S. DoD Invented Algorithm That Detects Infections in Real-Time

U.S. DoD Invented Algorithm
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The Department of Defense of the U.S. exerts efforts to ensure the safety of its personnel. And recently, the department announced they developed a wearable that can detect infections in real-time. Such a device is critical as defense personnel interacts with various people. For example, they may be assigned to different areas where bacteria, germs, and viruses may be present. They are also involved in rescue efforts and large-scale evacuation activities during medical situations, outbreaks, natural disasters, and local strifes.  

Wearable infection detector

This is not the first time the DoD developed an infection-detecting wearable through the Rapid Assessment of Threat Exposure (RATE) program. The department first developed a similar wearable during the Covid pandemic to help monitor the members’ health and provide alerts as early as possible. 

With the success of the initial wearable the department developed during the pandemic, the DoD plans to invest heavily to ensure the readiness of its workforce to conduct vital missions while ensuring its members’ health and safety against the unpredictability of infectious diseases. The new algorithm can provide alerts in real-time.

According to Jeff Schneider, RATE’s program manager, the Department of Defense can use commercial wearables and program them using the AI algorithm they trained using data from over 11,000 individuals acquired from hospitals’ monitored Covid-19 cases. The program utilizes biometric data from commercially available wearables. At the same time, the RATE algorithm provides early detection of infectious diseases at a maximum of 48 hours before the appearance of symptoms. It predicts infections up to six days before the onset. 

The RATE’s algorithm

Mr. Schneider said the journal Nature Scientific Reports featured the algorithm in 2022 when Covid-19 was still at its height. He added that the article focused on the efficacy of the wearables programmed to use their algorithm to support the readiness of uniformed personnel. 

The department worked with a private company, Philips Integrated Technology, to develop its program and incorporate the algorithm into existing wearable devices. With the program’s success, Philips plans to expedite the commercialization and scaling of the new wearable devices. 

Since the algorithm is device-neutral, Philips said they could quickly use biomarker data from any commercial wearable and run the markets against the clinical data sets in the cloud to create a wellness score that passes the RATE standards.  

Philips’ head of integrated technology solutions, Navin Natoewal, said they could offer the program through a licensing model to companies that want to offer this early infection-detection algorithm as a stand-alone service or incorporate it into their wearable device. 

Wearable infection detector
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More funding

The initial devices programmed with the algorithm to provide real-time alerts will be issued to 360 first sergeants. According to the wing director of Talent Management and Assessments at Fort Meade, Maryland, Air Force Maj. Michael Vernale, the first sergeants are the core of all organizations in the U.S. Air Force, and the technology will have a big effect on improving the airmen’s lives. 

Moreover, the DoD received $10 million in additional funding to produce 4,500 wearables for its various departments and extend the study to include other infectious diseases aside from Covid. 

Currently, the algorithm’s deployment is in Oura rings and Garmin watches. However, the Philips and Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) team will soon add three more wearable devices to their line-up.