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This is really simple. I own a $120,000 research grade thermal imaging camera. Let's thermally benchmark today's hazmat suits, then let's make sure tomorrow's suit is better.

Idea No 1. Let's thermally benchmark existing hazmat suits. Where does heat build up? How fast? At what distribution of temperatures do workers experience heat stress? Let's publish benchmarks openly. Then anyone developing the next generation of hazmat suit will have references to beat. After all what's the point of research if we don't know exactly what basic thermal performance references are? Idea No 2. Instead of 10 projects launched in 10 silos, let's launch 9 projects and use this tool as a common resource. In other words the 10th project will be an "infrastructure resource" flying out to help the other 9 projects, especially if those projects are new hazmat designs to reduce heat stress. Fly-to design validation.

Photo of Rik Ganju
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If anyone is developing a 'cool or cooler hazmat suit' for USAID and wants help validating their design, please contact me.    ELASTICDESIGN.BIZ for more contact information.

You would be amazed at how many well-marketed ideas for taking heat out of the body and putting heat into the body don't work .   Medicine has been exploring therapeutic hypothermia and hyperthermia for years.  Multi-million dollar startups have done bankrupt.  Let's use this camera to help the Open Ideo/USAID developers make the best cooling gear possible.  Lots of stuff that looks good on paper won't work.  But it will seem promising.

Any philanthropists out there?   Let's get something going by the end of this week!   Call me and let's get thermal benchmarking for current hazmat suits completed and shared with all new PPE designers by mid-November 2014.    Understanding (in 3D) exactly how the current suit causes overheating will help all who seek to design better suits.   This is not an expensive study - let's get it done. 

If you are not fond of the ideas above, how would you improve them?  What would you do differently?

How will you at USAID, DOD, or OpenIdeo evaulate different suit designs against each other?  What functional test methods are you planning?  Please write in below as I'm curious to learn from you.  Thanks.

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Photo of Meresa Salisbury

Good idea. A question...
Has this type of technology been used with any other type of suit or uniform design?

Photo of Rik Ganju

Hello Meresa. I believe Darpa has done some related work in the area. They've been very interested in how to keep soldiers cool, and have funded more basic work on thermoregulation.

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