Apple Watch to be used for understanding ‘Red-line’ events with the US Special Forces

Apple Watch and US Special forces

A new USC study in collaboration with the US Department of Defense plans on using the Apple Watch to monitor signs of any degradation among US Special operation forces (SOF).

The new study will continuously and comprehensively measure US Military Special Operation Forces (SOF) ‘s mental and physical status through a confidential and cybersecurity research mobile application (app) over a six-month period. 

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How the US Special forces plan to use Apple Watch for understanding ‘Red-line’ events

In conjunction with data collected via the mobile app, wearable sensors, such as the Apple Watch, will be used to collect physiologic continuously (e.g., heart rate) and other data (e.g., activity, sleep). 

Apple Watch Series 6 SpO2 sensors

The proposal’s overall objective is to investigate whether the app can contribute to reducing overall warfighter degradation and if degradation can be predicted from daily continuous measures of physical and mental behavior.

It is widely believed that Special Operations Forces (SOF) warfighters experience tremendous physical and mental strain and degradation after returning from deployment and during training before deployment. Clinical Study Apple Watch US Special Forces

This degradation has been loosely linked to behavior termed “red-line” events, such as alcohol abuse, suicide, and divorce.

However, there is a lack of comprehensive evaluation directly linking “red-line” behavior to physical and mental degradation.

The new USC study will recruit the following: 1) 250 warfighters from the 3rd Special Forces Group (SFG(A)) (Fort Bragg, NC) and 2) 250 warfighters from 1st Recon Battalion (Camp Pendleton, CA).

These are both elite military warfighting groups. 3rd SFG(A) will be enrolled within 3 months of returning from deployment (e.g., the Red Cycle), while Reconnaissance Marines will be enrolled up to 6 months before deployment during combat training (e.g., individual and unit training phases (ITP/UTP)).

The clinical study and the associated trials will be launched by the University of Southern California in collaboration with the US department of defense.

The new study details were released in the latest clinical trial listings.

The use of the Apple Watch as the wearable by elite spec op participants shows many new use cases where the watch can be used for remote monitoring wearable.  

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Sudz Niel Kar
I am a technologist with years of experience with Apple and wearOS products, have a BS in Computer Science and an MBA specializing in emerging tech, and owned the popular site AppleToolBox. In my day job, I advise Fortune 500 companies with their digital transformation strategies and also consult with numerous digital health startups in an advisory capacity. I'm VERY interested in exploring the digital health and fitness-tech evolution and keeping a close eye on patents, FDA approvals, strategic partnerships, and developments happening in the wearables and digital health sector. When I'm not writing or presenting, I run with my Apple Watch Ultra or Samsung Galaxy Watch and closely monitor my HRV and other recovery metrics.



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