New research facility to explore heat stress solutions for soldiers amidst rising temperatures

The Heat Resilience and Performance Centre is a collaborative effort between the SAF, NUS and DSO National Laboratories.

Fitri Mahad

Probably the only person that likes to hear the koels go ‘uwu’.

Published: 12 January 2023, 5:25 PM

MINDEF’s new research facility, the Heat Resilience and Performance Centre (HRPC), is set to research and explore solutions to help soldiers tackle heat stress amidst rising temperatures.

HRPC was launched at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore (NUS Medicine) on Wednesday (Jan 11), with Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen officiating the event.

A collaborative effort between the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), National University of Singapore (NUS Medicine) and DSO National Laboratories (DSO), the HRPC is aimed at addressing the “long-term challenges that rising ambient temperature pose to training and operational readiness for the SAF”.

MINDEF announced the establishment of the HRPC during the Committee of Supply Debate 2022. PHOTO CREDIT: FACEBOOK/MINISTRY OF DEFENCE, SINGAPORE


HRPC’s areas of research span three thrusts: Discover, Detect and Strengthen.  

The first thrust, Discover, plans to aggregate and analyse data and use it to develop and refine physiological research models. It branches out into two research areas: Data Aggregation and Data Analysis.

Data Aggregation will consolidate past physiological data and use it for “active surveillance, continuous monitoring, and data collection”. Through Data Analysis, the aggregated data will be analysed and used to develop and refine physiological research models.

Detect, the second research thrust, will visualise and sense-make an individual’s heat-health and readiness status. 

Through this thrust, HRPC will tap into physiological sensing to work on increased accuracy when it comes to predicting and managing exertional heat injury related risks. It will also investigate mechanisms that cause exertional heat injury.

This thrust will also make use of a sensor network concept to build a heat health map which can help analyse an individual’s heat health status.

Training personalisation will also be explored, where predictive models and decision support systems will be developed for different populations, training and operating contexts. 

The final thrust, Strengthen, dives into developing tools and technology-enabled approaches to boost heat resilience. 

It will touch on new technologies in advanced materials that can potentially be used to enhance body cooling through active or passive means. These include adaptive fabrics that can change its structure in response to environmental conditions, and “super hygroscopic nano fabrics” which absorb moisture.

HRPC will also look into the effect of urban heat of environments and buildings through the use of virtual models, and gain insights on how infrastructure can be used to improve passive heat resilience and promote active cooling.

Lastly, the thrust’s research will cover intestinal microorganisms and its role in a human’s heat health and as a “potential indicator of heat stress”.

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