The soldiers of the future are going to look an awful lot like the soldiers that video games have been presenting to the world for years. Meet the US Army concept respirator from the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center’s Respiratory Protection Branch that is being considered for use in the field.
The idea is to create a respirator that can be used by soldiers that is able to protect them from chemical and biological agents while at the same time not boiling them inside their helmets in harsh conditions. To that end, a new fan design has been created that can pull air in through a filtration system, clean it and then blow it over a soldier’s face while in the battlefield.
Using valves, the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center has also managed to ensure that exhaling while wearing the mask results in the clean air staying put in the eye cavity. This creates a high-pressure area inside the mask and helps to prevent “…any potential for outside contaminates to enter the mask should there be a break in the seal.”
The fan system, which seems to be planned for a much more futuristic helmet design, has already been tested on soldiers using a modified version of the existing M50 joint service general purpose mask and the results are fairly positive. It looks like it’s only a matter of time before actual solders start to resemble Master Chief from Halo and they’ll be comfortable while they do so.