Military unveils smart watch with a difference

Updated: Oct. 28, 2020 at 12:45 PM EDT
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FORT DRUM, N.Y. (WWNY) - You can’t buy this at the Apple store.

The military is rolling out its version of the smart watch. Call it a smarter watch.

Almost a thousand 10th Mountain Division soldiers now have these watches. What do they do?

For one, the watch and another sensor monitor the person wearing it for early indicators of infection and illness like COVID-19.

For another - and this is vitally important to the military as it trains to fight wars - it monitors soldier performance.

“You can get a picture of how are they training, how hard are they training, are they training too much,” said George Matook, Program Manager for MASTR-E.

(MASTR-E is on one of those long Army acronyms. It stands for Measuring and Advancing Soldier Tactical Readiness and Effectiveness.)

To test the effectiveness of the watches, 10th Mountain Division soldiers have been participating in a “live-fire stress shooting demonstration.” The system tracks their vital signs while they run the course.

It’s as nerve-racking as it sounds.

Software measures the heart rate and movements of soldiers.

“So we are treating these guys like tactical athletes,” said Joseph Patterson, MASTR-E Project Lead.

“And the Army’s big push with holistic health and fitness - as well as some of the education services they’re providing - gives them insights into how to make themselves a whole human, a whole athlete,” Patterson said.

Not surprisingly, the testing is bringing out the competitiveness in soldiers.

“Now that we are able to quantify exactly what ‘better’ is, then we can go back into seeing ‘Ok, now that we have discrete units of measure, what can we do before we get to an event like this to make you better, to make you faster, to give you more control over your breathing, your heart rate, your marksmanship etc.’” said Major Adam Cucchiara, Battalion Operations Officer for 4-31 Infantry.

Soldiers with the 10th will use the watches for the next year.

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