IAI to Continue Development of Software for Thermal Stress Analysis in Protective Equipment

Infrared images are commonly used to evaluate thermal stress on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). However, current methods rely on a qualitative assessment of these images and are subjective, prone to errors, and restricted to stationary human subjects or manikins. Available image processing software cannot quantitatively and objectively assess IR images. To address this, IAI has developed a prototype Thermal Image Comparison Software Tool that provides quantitative and objective thermal measurements for PPE and clothing assessments. This tool is capable of mapping surface temperature measured by a thermal camera onto a 3D wire-frame, allowing for localized measurement of thermal stress. It uses a Kinect 3D imaging sensor to estimate motion, determine body pose and locate body parts, and a thermal camera aligned with the 3D sensor to measure and record temperature. IAI has already successfully demonstrated the TSAPE capability by providing quantitative and objective thermal measurements for clothing in indoor and outdoor shaded environments and at a Navy climatic chamber. Next, IAI will advance the technology to handle different types of PPEs and human activities. IAI’s solution will assist Navy researchers and garment designers in measuring heat and cold stress of different clothing and PPEs in an objective, accurate, and efficient manner, including while the human subject is moving and performing various activities. Commercial applications include design of outdoor apparel, clothing insulation, and sportswear. This technology can also be useful in physiology research for bioheat transfer modeling and medical thermal imaging applications, and for IR image analysis in energy auditing and equipment maintenance.