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US military launches challenge for fashion community
Nov '16
Courtesy: proofchallenge.com
Courtesy: proofchallenge.com
The Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense (JPEO-CBD) of US military has invited the textile technology and innovation community to design suits for soldiers to help them effectively combat chemical and biological attacks. The military is seeking innovative ideas to increase warfighters’ mobility, dexterity and tactility.

The current chemical biological suit’s burden, weight and bulkiness restrict the warfighter’s agility, range of motion and maneuverability necessary to conduct their duties. Thus, with the ‘Proof: The Chembio Suit Design Challenge’, JPEO-CBD is seeking new suit designs to allow warfighters to complete all relevant tasks in a fast and comfortable manner, without fatigue associated with the ensemble.

The military has also listed a few other requirements on the Proof challenge website. These include ideas for heat management that reduce heat burden and actively cool the warfighter as various physical tasks are conducted, and improvement in the seamless integration between suit components, such as mask-helmet or glove-boot interface. The ultimate goal is to relieve any burdens and hazards to the warfighter and improve operational capabilities in combating chemical and biological wartime threats.

A panel of experts in the design, military and sciences departments will judge the competition. The judges are Douglas Bryce, executive officer of JPEO-CBD; Colonel Scott Estes, deputy director of Joint Requirements Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense; David Strum, president and co-founder of Velocity Systems; textile engineer and strategist Mark Sunderland, Matthew Trexler, director of technology validation at Under Armour and industrial designer Julianne Gauron.

The competition is currently in the blitz round and its winners will be announced in January 2017. The US military will give out $250,000 worth of prizes and the winning teams will stand to win prizes up to $150,000. (KD)

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