AFWERX SBIR Grant Looks to Improve Military Fitness with Data

SSgt. Jasmine Stewart, 66th Medical Squadron Readiness NCO in charge, runs a lap around the installation track during a physical training session at Hanscom AFB, Mass., Feb. 26, 2018. Air Force photo by Linda LaBonte Britt.

The Defense Department and the Air Force awarded an AFWERX Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant to IncludeHealth Inc, makers of the Include digital health platform, to create and standardize future fitness protocols for the US military that are better tailored to individual warfighters.

The Include platform consists of the Access Strength system, a cloud-technology-equipped functional trainer designed to be used by anyone, no matter their “size, age, mobility, or fitness level,” according to the company website. The IncludeCloud software lets users access and analyze data from Access Strength machines and evaluate workout programs’ “efficacy and efficiency,” among other capabilities.

“This combination provides breakthrough capabilities such as outcomes-based data collection, automated documentation, cloud collaboration, and equal access for all ages and abilities,” IncludeHealth founder and CEO Ryan Eder said in a statement to Air Force Magazine. “The culmination is better outcomes with lower barriers and costs throughout the continuum of care.”

As part of the grant, the platform’s components will be installed in The Air Force Research Laboratory’s Signature Tracking for Optimized Nutrition and Training laboratory (STRONG) at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, for use “in a two-month study with 40 warfighters,” the release said.

“We are interested in applying IncludeHealth’s technology to develop and validate next-generation, mission-specific fitness protocols resulting in objective, data-driven, and evidenced-based duty qualifying scores,” Adam Strang, the lab’s director, said in the release. “We also see powerful applications to remotely issue individualized training and rehab protocols across the Air Force network without the need for human proxy.”

Eder said the group hopes the platform can be used “to further quantify and qualify” service-member health while making sure they get “best-in-class care post deployment,” regardless of whether they’re still in uniform.

If the Phase I effort succeeds, the company aspires to use future grant phases to bring the Include platform to more USAF installations, make it possible to analyze aggregated data, “and further develop deep advancements in next-generation protocols to deliver best-in-class services for the Department of Defense,” the release said.