December 13, 2017

In a 2015 brief, Tony Davis, the director of Science and Technology within Special Operations Command, reiterated that the SOCOM S&T vision is to Discover, enable and transition technologies to provide an asymmetric advantage for special operations forces.

On top of the S&T vision, Davis noted human performance as a particular need.

The rapid adoption of smart, adaptive and connected devices—the Internet of Things—is occurring across virtually all critical infrastructure sectors. This is happening at a speed that far outpaces earlier technological developments.

The adoption of the Internet of Bio-Nano Things by SOCOM is a significant force enhancer.

Take SOCOM's Human Performance Program, which is designed to meet the unique physical needs of the SOF operators. The program is supported by applied techniques involving exercise physiology, kinesiology and sports psychology. This allows for the optimization of an operator's output during sustained periods of physical exertion and mental stress in austere operational environments.

Recent systems engineering graduate Ryan Vance wanted to contribute to this important program through his final project, so he created a plan for what he calls Project Iron Man.

Vance's idea involves implanting an embedded device into an operator's body that could acquire and communicate physiological information to support teams—providing the data they need to make adjustments and optimize the operator's output as efficiently as possible.

According to Vance, the Project Iron Man system has demonstrated confidence through a series of reports and promises to be a significant human performance enhancer.

Vance currently works as a systems engineer for Raytheon in Florida. He earned his bachelor's in electrical engineering from the University of Florida and his master's in systems engineering (MSE) from Johns Hopkins Engineering.

The Systems Engineering program at Johns Hopkins Engineering regularly highlights the design projects and in-depth thesis research of its students. We will continue to make these presentations available so that they can benefit the entire systems engineering community.