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Smart Underwear Designed For Military 169

Posted by samzenpus
from the now-taking-orders dept.
A team of scientists at the University of California San Diego, led by nano-engineering professor Joseph Wang, has designed some high-tech underwear that may save lives. Sensors in the waistband can monitor a person's blood pressure, heart rate, and other vital signs. The designers also hope that one day the underwear can release drugs to relieve pain and treat wounds. From the article: "But the technology's range of application goes beyond the military. 'We envision all the trend of personalized medicine for remote monitoring of the elderly at home, monitoring a wide range of biomedical markers, like cardiac markers, alerting for any potential stroke, diabetic changes, and other changes related to other biomedical scenario,' said Wang. Wearable biosensors can also provide valuable information to athletes or even measure blood alcohol levels."

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Smart Underwear Designed For Military

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  • Joke (Score:5, Funny)

    by al3 (1285708) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @12:02PM (#32525132)
    I'll totally mod up the first person who makes a joke about a guy named Wang heading up military underwear research. Doh!
    • Re:Joke (Score:5, Funny)

      by Forge (2456) <kevinforge.gmail@com> on Thursday June 10, 2010 @12:19PM (#32525324) Homepage Journal
      I knew they were repealing "Don't ask, Don't tell" but isn't this going a little too far?

      "Printed on the waistband and in constant contact with the skin is an electronic biosensor, designed to measure blood pressure, heart rate and other vital signs."

      Translation: When blood flow to your Wang increases they will know. If you are in a room full of guys, they don't have to ask and you don't have to tell.
    • Any underwear designed by a Wang has got to be nice and comfortable. And I think the elderly will love this convenient method of administering viagra when their heart rate gets over a certain level..

    • Re:Joke (Score:4, Insightful)

      by spazdor (902907) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @12:53PM (#32525706)

      New rule, everyone. Remarking that there's an obvious joke to be made, counts as making that joke.

      • by initialE (758110)

        And saying that you will mod someone up counts as a mod?

    • "led by nano-engineering professor Joseph Wang, has designed some high-tech underwear that may save lives." This is just the perfect storm for jokes. I'm surprised no-one has ran with the nano line yet...

      These underwear may not protect your back, but they've got your ass!
    • by commodoresloat (172735) * on Thursday June 10, 2010 @01:36PM (#32526160)

      He shared his strategic plan with me years ago; it sounds like he has filled in a crucial missing step:

      1. Collect underwear
      2. ???
      3. Profit!

    • a joke about a guy named Wang

      OK, I know your funny bones wouldn't want to know this, but Wang in Chinese means King, a surname also popular in the states.

      • by Pharmboy (216950)

        but Wang in Chinese means King, a surname also popular in the states

        Johnson is a surname (and the most popular surname in the USA), but it is still slang for your wang.

        Dick is a common nickname for "Richard", and slang for your johnson.

        I could go on and on, but if you need more references, watch an Austin Power's movie.

      • Are you saying Chinese kings were dicks?
        • I meant if people know the original or others meanings of a word, they might be less inclined to joke about it every time they see the word. As others pointed out they are other names with this kind of connotation, but they were all well established real names before their slang meanings.
          • By established I meant in English.
          • part of human nature in north america. we laugh at stupid sounding names. never name you kid something stupid. if your last is 'head', don't name your kid richard. Like one guy said here, if you last name is banger, don't name your kid william (willy banger). etc. We here in north america WILL laugh at them once old enough to understand the joke. Maybe in front of you, maybe behind your back. And for god sake, never name your kid 'Cuntfacedbastard-whoshootswetloavesofhighdensityriebreadpouthisassandsmellsli
    • by JosKarith (757063)
      I'm guessing the stress monitor is a simple load sensor in the rear - if the soldier's shat themselves they've probably just been shot...
    • That's just in the model designed for the generals. Can't have a four star with erectile dysfunction starting WWIII now can we...

  • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @12:05PM (#32525154) Journal

    Once Smart Underwear catches on in the public, it'll become just a regular technology, like a cell phone.

    Now guys, how many times have you seen girls check out another girl's phone when she buys a new one? How many times have you been able to go, "Hey, can I see your phone?" and they'll whip it out and show it to you.

    One day, it'll be as easy as "Hey, can I see your Smart Underwear?" and she'll be like "Can I see yours too?".

    Trust me, this is going to be awesome.

    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by TerranFury (726743)
      +5 Insightful? Really? Really?
      • I keep trying to make a joke out of a "Firewall in my pants" pun but I can't quite find a way to work it into a pickupline or a good setup...

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by SydShamino (547793)

          When you're taking a girl home and she asks, "You do have protection, right?", you can respond truthfully that "Yes, I have a firewall in my pants."

          That was awful.

    • because if it can determine what needs to be done it can record the event. What can be recorded can be reported. While the idea of this underwear leads to some mirth it should be acknowledged than any article of clothing can be modified to help the individual as well as monitor and report. While in the context of the infirm and elderly this can provide a boon to hospitals and homes we will need to look at how the information is distributed and kept safe from prying eyes.

      Throw in concerns about proper dis

  • But does it come in boxers as well as briefs?

    • by Abstrackt (609015)

      But does it come in boxers as well as briefs?

      I, for one, won't be satisfied until someone produces a banana hammock based on this technology.

    • Now I have to start wearing underwear? That's it, I'm out of here!
    • I'm not sure about the wisdom of putting expensive "smarts" into a garment that gets changed/washed a lot. Wouldn't it be better as a belt?

      Or maybe the military don't change them as often.

      OTOH this is Slashdot, I'm seeing mystified faces when I say "changed/washed" in the same sentence as "underwear".

      • by Yuan-Lung (582630)

        I'm not sure about the wisdom of putting expensive "smarts" into a garment that gets changed/washed a lot. Wouldn't it be better as a belt?

        That was my first thought as well. Wouldn't it be better to not have electronics in your laundry? A detachable waist band/arm band/strap would have been much logical... unless of course, the point is to collect vital data without the knowledge of the wearer....

        Or maybe the military don't change them as often.

        apperantly... [usatoday.com]

  • Great... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by chaodyn (1313729)
    Now I have to worry about my underwear invading my privacy too? That's it, game over.
    • by Kenoli (934612)
      Doesn't it sort of do that anyway?
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by chaodyn (1313729)
        But at least I didn't have to worry about it reporting status to some outside observer - imagine walking into a store... "Welcome to S-Mart, sir - by the way, your underwear is reporting a slight stretching in the elastic - you may want to visit isle 3 and pick up some new ones. Oh, and we're having a special on weight-loss products in isle 5..."
        • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Will this new underwear teach you how to spell rudimentary words like "aisle" or is that too much to ask?
      • Yeah. Is Chaodyn trying to tell us that when he wears underwear, it is not pressed up against his privates?

        • by chaodyn (1313729)
          You caught me.
        • I see a market opportunity: underunderwear.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by spazdor (902907)

            But as under-underwear gets smarter, we have the same issue and we'll need under-underwear!

            I think the solution here is obvious, guys. How do you keep different layers separate in a way that preserves privacy and access privileges?

            middlewear.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      As long as Facebook and AT&T don't get involved we're probably OK.

  • by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @12:06PM (#32525176) Journal
    Digitial paaaants..... ACTIVATE!
  • by smitty777 (1612557) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @12:07PM (#32525184) Journal

    ...I'm here for the debriefing sir.

  • Seems they were up for a Good Spacekeeping Seal of Approval - before Jane found they had to be Dry Clean only.

  • The next version will activate the self-cleaning system after it hears the sound of an artillery barrage.

  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @12:12PM (#32525236)

    These are completely useless for commandos.

  • Lindsay? (Score:4, Funny)

    by CohibaVancouver (864662) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @12:14PM (#32525266)

    or even measure blood alcohol levels

    While one might immediately see value in a product like this for Lindsay Lohan, keep in mind she rarely wears underpants.

    • by rah1420 (234198)

      >>keep in mind she rarely wears underpants.

      Is this apocryphal, is it something she's admitted, or do you have direct knowledge? Inquiring minds and all that.

    • While one might immediately see value in a product like this for Lindsay Lohan, keep in mind she rarely wears underpants.

      Pics or it isn't true!

    • by yukk (638002)

      or even measure blood alcohol levels

      While one might immediately see value in a product like this for Lindsay Lohan, keep in mind she rarely wears underpants.

      Yeah, I know. That's just what we need - another reason for drunk guys to take their pants off. "Shit man, you're too drunk to drive. Your underwear will block the ignition ... " "Yeah, not a problem !" *Rrriiiip* "Okay, I'm good, let's walk to the car."

  • So they will be able to tell what soldiers handle the action better judged on if they shit themselves or not? And all remotely? Is there anything technology can't do?
  • Does it also include a fecal material sensor hooked up to the radio, so the underwear can automatically call for help in a "crap your pants" situation?

  • drugs? (Score:2, Redundant)

    by Mechanik (104328)

    The designers also hope that one day the underwear can release drugs to relieve pain and treat wounds.

    Or how about Viagra when they sense foreplay? That would make a hojillion dollars. Add in a mild heater to combat shrinkage on those cold nights, and you have yourself a winner.

  • by conner_bw (120497) * on Thursday June 10, 2010 @12:18PM (#32525316) Homepage Journal

    Pffft, big deal. Mormons have had special underwear for centuries now.

  • Beep beep. Major fracture detected. Morphine administered. Warning: user death iminent. Seek medical attention.

    Heh, I will forever associate the HEV suit with the rope elevator on the Lost Coast level.

  • I'd love to see the readings off of a pair of these things when someone got an unexpected wedgie.

    Also interesting, it seems this could be the first step towards a suit of medical power armor [wikia.com]. Who'd have guessed that such a great item would have started inside your pants?
    • One other interesting idea...if you really want to get these things into the mainstream, work with the sex pill companies to rig up a pair that can inject a sex-enhancement drug on command. Nothing would get these babies into mainstream public use like the promise of an on-demand erection.
  • by The Wild Norseman (1404891) <<tw.norseman> <at> <gmail.com>> on Thursday June 10, 2010 @12:20PM (#32525334)
    Didja read that the officers' version of the Medical Briefs can actually read more vital signs than the enlisted version? Yeah, it's not because officers' lives are more important or anything, it's just that it's easier for the Medical Briefs to read pupil dilation when the officer in question has his head up his ass.
  • Tethering to your partner. A little WiFi. A virtual hotspot. Endless.
  • It seems posting "idle is pants" is 100% on-topic today.
  • Obligatory Beavis and Butthead reference....
  • Stupid idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jklovanc (1603149) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @12:30PM (#32525452)

    Here are the reasons why it is stupid.
    1. Would need to be able to withstand multiple wash cycles. Washing machines are very hard on electronics and sensors.
    2. Each person would require multiple pairs of underwear as very few people wash cloths every day.
    3. Difficult to replace medications. (Take off your pants. I need to add insulin.)
    4. Trans dermal meds are generally low dose. If a soldier needs pain meds I doubt that enough could be administered.

    A much better idea would be an arm band that is worn under clothing.

    • by Shompol (1690084)
      They should make it a "Smart Suppository" instead.
      Don't need to change or wash it.

      Other functionality ideas:
      5. Can administer an electric shock for disobeying commanding officer/head nurse
    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      Here are the reasons why it's brilliant from the point of view of a military contractor:
      1. Damage by wash cycles means that the military will keep needing to buy more of these things.
      2. Each person requiring multiple pairs will ensure that they need to buy a lot to start out with.

      • by matfud (464184)

        And having to do a systems check on your underwear each morning to ensure they are still working.

        Hah login check was "starched" and I would not fancy that either.

    • by sponga (739683)

      5. When the IED goes off and it everything on your body burns, it will melt into and mend with your skin.

    • 1. Would need to be able to withstand multiple wash cycles. Washing machines are very hard on electronics and sensors.

      I'm sure they can either make it machine wash proof, or just make the electronic part removable. I have an HRM that has a removable/washable strap and I've heard of washable HRM sports bras [amazon.com].

      2. Each person would require multiple pairs of underwear as very few people wash cloths every day.

      Multiple pairs of underwear, one sensor module that snaps onto the underwear. Problem solved.

      3. Difficul

      • by jklovanc (1603149)
        1. The article is about printing the sensors on the waistband; not a removable system.

        2. See 1

        3. "Easily accessible" under tucked in undershirt, tucked in shirt, pants, belt, jacket, armour and equipment belt could be difficult.

        4. Insulin pumps require a cannula [wikipedia.org] and I doubt that it would be a good idea for every soldier to be stuck with a needle 24 hours a day.

        • by npsimons (32752)
          1. 1) Who says they can't change it to be a removable system?
          2. 2) See 1)
          3. 3) Which is why they could have an extension tube.
          4. 4) Again, technology will improve; either "injection" will become possible without being "stuck with a needle" or development of implantable devices that only have to be refilled periodically will happen, or possibly both!

          "not possible", "stupid", "won't ever work". That's all I seem to hear from you. Things don't get accomplished with that kind of mindset. It may not be perfect, it may st

  • My first thought is: If all of these fancy pants (literally!) biosensors make it so you can't just toss them in the wash, then I don't want it, especially on underwear.
  • Seriously, why attach all that tech to the piece of clothing that requires the most frequent washing?

  • what else can they monitor?

    I think we always receive a "vertical" look at the benefits (I.e., monitor blood pressure, heart rate, etc), and these are good in combat. Along with IPv6 addresses on just about all "elements" on a soldier (I.e., smart gear, location equipment, gps, etc), this adds another element of real-time combat monitoring and has a huge potential to monitor/save lives.

    But, are we being told everything they can glean with these wondrous new underpants?

  • "Close B Close mode"
    "His pants are gone!!"
    "Kid! What did you do??"
  • by RapmasterT (787426) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @12:46PM (#32525626)
    Right off the bat I can tell you this entire possibility is being posited by someone who never spent a day in uniform. The waistband is the worst possible place for this, from a practical perspective.

    Reason being, a fully uniformed soldier already has at his waist line:
    underwear
    undershirt
    pants waistband
    pants belt
    blouse tail
    pistol/equipment belt

    when a soldier already has six layers converging at his waist, adding wiring/sensors is not going to be popular. The sensation of peeling embedded underwear waistband out of sweaty flesh is not a positive one.
    • by c++0xFF (1758032)

      Pure speculation: maybe it was done on purpose, to ensure a good sensor-to-skin connection?

    • by npsimons (32752)

      Right off the bat I can tell you this entire possibility is being posited by someone who never spent a day in uniform. The waistband is the worst possible place for this, from a practical perspective.

      Well then I'm sure they'll hear about it real quick. I'm willing to bet, though, that the reason they chose the waist is that measuring BP is easier there; commercially available HRMs go across the chest and don't do BP. But I'm willing to bet it's fairly easy to relocate the sensor, if only they can get read

  • The idea of smart underwear is actually quite dangerous. The smart part would rely on software. It's one thing to do measurement, but it's a whole new ball game to give software the control to release medicine into the body. I don't think there would some nice UI to prompt you for permission when a certain drug is injected in you.
    • by aicrules (819392)
      The confirmation dialogue is audio-based. You confirm that you want the drugs by punching the OK button which is conveniently located in front middle. They're not sure yet if they want a double punch or a single punch though.
  • by ggambett (611421) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @01:32PM (#32526090) Homepage
    1. Steal underpants
    2. Upgrade them with high-tech devices and sell them to the military at 10x their original cost
    3. Profit!!!
  • The designers also hope that one day the underwear can release drugs to relieve pain and treat wounds.

    lets hope the enemy don't develop the tech to wirelessly/remotely activate the drug release.....

  • You dont have to wash them that often. You dont have to make many sizes, etc. And it could be a chestband or armband too.
  • 1) The leg holes can automatically become tourniquets when excessive blood loss is detected from a leg.

    2) A sensor that can tell when a team or individual is ambushed- it senses urine.

    3) Chastity belt (nobody should be having sex whilst in the midst of a combat situation)

    4) Shock 'collar' for prisoners (kinda like an individually installed taser to keep them from doing stupid things that would otherwise get them or our guys hurt)

    5).... the list goes on....

    (Oh, some are meant to be funny, other could work; y

  • by Jeian (409916)

    Just in case, you know, somebody was confused about whether "California" referred to the US state or the city in El Salvador.

  • But does it release painkillers when your PETN underware bomb misfires?
  • The designers also hope that one day the underwear can release drugs

    We hope too!

  • and under combat conditions, they are likely to show up.

    "Captain, we have multiple INDICATIONS from squad Baker."

    "Send reinforcements and a gunship at once."

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