USAF Wants to Use Wearable Tech to Detect COVID-19 Cases Sooner

AFWERX—the Air Force’s innovation organization—and the Office of the Joint Surgeon General are considering procuring “an estimated 10,000 wearable devices” to help the service with early COVID-19 detection.

USAF is interested in information about “commercially available wearable technologies” that can allow it to monitor service members’ “biometric data”—such as changes in heart rate and oxygen levels, states the Nov. 10 request for information published by Air Force Materiel Command’s Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center. That way, possible cases of the new coronavirus disease can be flagged early, potentially sickened troops can be alerted to the medical danger they might be in, and commanders can use the information to make “personnel and unit readiness decisions,” the RFI states. 

The devices won’t be allowed to track troops’ locations or gather or archive any information that could be used to personally identify them, it adds.

The service wants these wearables to reach initial operational capability within a period of two months or less, according to questions outlined in the RFI.

The service also wants to know if the pitched devices are “interoperable with other devices,” and if they can share data with a “third party integrator as part of a larger suite of toolsets to be utilized” by the Air Force; whether the devices have been used by private industry to detect COVID-19, and how successful the devices have been in actually detecting cases of the disease.

Responses to the RFI are due by 8 p.m. EST on Nov. 20.