Army using IVAS prototype in COVID-19 efforts

By Jaspreet Gill / April 27, 2020 at 4:20 PM

The Army last week started using a prototype of the Integrated Visual Augmentation System to detect fever in soldiers at Ft. Benning, GA, to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

An adapted version of the digital thermal sensor in the augmented reality battlefield heads-up display is being used to "rapidly assess the temperature of hundreds of soldiers each day as they prepare for training on an installation that hosts thousands of soldiers in dozens of courses, including basic training and ranger school," according to an Army press release.

In less than 30 minutes, groups of 200 to 300 soldiers had their temperatures taken in an indoor processing center, "where they paused for five seconds facing a soldier wearing an IVAS goggle with sensors that detect the forehead and inner eye temperature."

Soldiers who had fevers were moved to a medical station on site for evaluation.

"That's the genius of this system; we can use this technology today to fight the virus, even as we shape it into the combat system our soldiers need tomorrow," Brig. Gen. Anthony Potts, program executive officer for soldier systems, said in the release. "This shows the extensibility of the IVAS technology and the system. While we're maintaining momentum in pursuit of modernization, we have to keep in mind that readiness today is critical."

Prototypes from a second soldier touchpoint, or user evaluation, of the system were used to screen the soldiers.

The prototypes, which are not the final version of the IVAS, "cannot [yet] be used outdoors, where temperatures continually fluctuate, for the purpose of fever detection," according to the press release.

A third soldier touchpoint, which has been delayed a few months due to the pandemic, will act as the first combat-geared evaluation for soldiers.