Modeling Integrated Helmets for Aviation
Award last edited on: 3/25/2008

Sponsored Program
Awarding Agency
DOD : Army
Total Award Amount
Award Phase
Solicitation Topic Code
Principal Investigator
Anand D Kasbekar

Company Information

Visual Sciences Inc

13450 Sunrise Valley Drive
Herndon, VA 20170
   (202) 595-0066
Location: Single
Congr. District: 11
County: Fairfax

Phase I

Contract Number: ----------
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Phase I year
Phase I Amount
Computational speed and hardware costs are no longer significant barriers to running complex simulations. Recent advances in non-linear finite element analysis (FEA) make it feasible to study complex interactions between protective equipment and the human body. VSI has devoted several years to developing realistic computer models of human heads for studying the contact interface between the face and protective masks like the M40. This effort has proven to be successful and has resulted in the ability to evaluate fit both visually and quantitatively in terms of contact pressures, deflections, and stresses. Similar to protective masks, understanding the interface between helmets and the human head is necessary to ensure proper fit with regard to Comfort, Protection, Performance and Compatibility (CPPC). These fit related issues are critical to current and future helmet designs. VSI proposes to leverage its prior research experience in developing FEA models of headforms and protective masks to develop an innovative system for studying how various helmet features and design parameters effect CPPC in aviator and other integrated helmet systems. The proposed research will utilize existing 3-dimensional human databases such as CAESAR to develop a large individual headform population and a few boundary figure headforms for simulated helmet testing. Optimal fit and protection of commercial helmet systems are essential in order to promote use and to minimize injury. Manufacturers of bicycle, motorcycle, football, hockey, skiing, aviation and a multitude of other type of protective helmets devote extensive amounts of time and money attempting to improve fit and performance of their helmets. The majority of this development is done by trial and error. The proposed research will result in a powerful simulation tool that can be used to evaluate and optimize new and existing helmet designs without the need for costly prototyping and experimental testing.

Phase II

Contract Number: ----------
Start Date: ----    Completed: ----
Phase II year
Phase II Amount
The Army desires to develop advanced computer models of Aircrew Integrated Helmet Systems (AIHS), such as the HGU-56/P, for use on existing and future headform databases. These models must analyze the interrelationship between AIHS and headforms. Comfort, Protection, Performance and Compatibility (CPPC) evaluation of AIHS and ground forces helmets will be the primary objective. Visual Sciences, Inc. (VSI) will develop state-of-the-art finite element (FEA) models to achieve this objective. Protocols for simulated testing will be formulated to objectively assess CPPC using FEA models. VSI's Phase-I research focused on evaluating fit criteria and developing model concepts for the HGU-56/P. The proposed Phase-II research will develop practical tools to visually and quantitatively evaluate helmet fit on realistic digital headforms. These tools will facilitate design of head mounted equipment with optimal CPPC. VSI made significant advances to overcome technical hurdles and demonstrate key concepts during Phase-I program. This proposal presents a comprehensive Phase II research program to develop these concepts into practical working models for evaluating HGU-56/P and other military and commercial helmet systems. This research will significantly enhance the Army's capability to evaluate existing helmets and design new helmets using a representative sample population or a boundary figure subset of digital headforms. The technology developed under this program will compliment existing computer simulation work and significantly reduce time and cost associated with fitting, customization, and modification of helmet systems. These tools will not only assist in evaluating and improving current helmet systems, but also will greatly enhance the ability of the Army to design future personal protective equipment. Commercialization potential for the technology developed under this program is significant, as numerous industrial applications would benefit from the ability to cost effectively design and conduct simulated testing of new protective equipment in order to optimize comfort, safety and reliability at a minimal cost. The ability to simulate helmets performance will aid in the development and optimization of new helmet materials.