Date: Jan 01, 2012 Source: ARMY SBIR Success Story (
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The ceramic tiles in the interceptor body armor plate system are subject to cracking through impact or simple misuse, potentially compromising ballistic integrity and Soldier safety. Currently, periodic non-destructive, pre-impact inspections of armor personnel plates are required during use by Soldiers and prior to reissue to determine continued serviceability. These inspections require expensive, fixed-site digital X-rayunits that are relatively slow, are burdened by numerous logistics issues, and require teams of trained operators.
The objective of this effort is to develop a smart personnel armor insert that features embedded low-cost ultra-lightweight sensors and a simple reliable indicator of armor serviceability for use by Soldiers in any conditions and at any time. Newport Sensor’s Armor Inspection and Monitoring (AIM) technology provides Soldiers with a simple, effective, and reliable means to determine body armor integrity at any time and place in a matter of seconds.
Embedded ultra-lightweight sensors linked to a microprocessor detect damage in the ceramic armor plate. A tiny key can be connected to the armor and provides a simple “go/no go” LED readout. AIM provides an immediate, reliable and readily accessible ballistic assurance to Soldiers pre-combat. Newport Sensors’ AIM system has demonstrated superior damage detection capability. It also provides substantial cost savings by eliminating the significant expense associated with the necessary up-front costs and logistics tail of the current digital X-ray technology.
Based on the criticality of the technology, Newport Sensors, Inc. was selected for the U.S. Army Commercialization Pilot Program and a Phase II Enhancement for an additional $1.7M in SBIR funding. This project has received strong support fromthe end user -- the US Army PEO Soldier, PM Soldier Protective Equipment, which has provided an additional $1M funding for prototyping and evaluating the newly developed smart armor inserts.