Natick studies link between body armor fit, performance

Rachel Terveer measures a Soldier's cross body reach as part of a study at the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center that seeks to understand the link between body armor fit and Soldier performance. (U.S. Army photo by David Kamm)

Rachel Terveer measures a Soldier’s cross body reach as part of a study at the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center that seeks to understand the link between body armor fit and Soldier performance. (U.S. Army photo by David Kamm)

NATICK, Mass. (Oct. 9, 2014) — Body armor has saved countless lives in Iraq and Afghanistan, but an Improved Outer Tactical Vest, or IOTV, that doesn’t fit properly can actually hinder a Soldier’s performance in combat.

That’s why members of the Anthropology and Human Factors Teams at the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center are conducting a range-of-motion and encumbered anthropometry study to better understand the link between fit and performance with the IOTV Gen III.

“We have this belief that if the fit of the body armor is really good, then the performance is going to be maximized,” said Dr. Hyeg joo Choi, the principal investigator for the study. “So the question is, how can we quantify a good fit so that Soldiers’ performance is maximized?”

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Media Report: Army plans Natick Labs upgrade

RDECOM Deputy Commanding General Brig. Gen. Harry Greene recently talked with the Boston Globe about Natick. “The Army recently opened its Natick installation to the public to unveil a modernization plan that it says will allow the circa-1950s facility to attract top talent to research and design food, shelter, and gear for America’s soldiers,” writes Megan McKee for the Globe.

“Though the installation has no money earmarked for the changes, developing the plan is the most important step to secure funding from the government, officials said. The Natick Soldier Systems Center, or Natick Army Labs, as it’s commonly known, is responsible for developing the bulk of the food, shelter, and clothing used by the military branch.”

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