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A solution that can predict and prevent the onset of hypoxia-like symptoms in pilots has been developed. The VigilOX is a pilot-worn sensing system that captures real-time physiological, breathing gas and cockpit environmental data during flight, to help inform conditions around unexplained physiological episodes. The pilot breathing sensor system marks a significant milestone in being able to monitor pilot physiology in flight, the company announced on its website.

The technology, earlier known as AMPSS and developed by Cobham, has flown three test flights on the US Navy’s F-18 and T-45 aircraft. The company, along with the Navy, medical, and research professionals, are in the initial stages of reviewing the post-flight data, which will be correlated to reported hypoxia-like symptoms.  This data will form the basis of a predictive algorithm that will ultimately drive oxygen equipment to automatically adjust oxygen dosage as needed to protect the pilot.In parallel with data collection efforts, Cobham is moving towards a “predict and protect” capability that will take sensors to the next level by incorporating them into oxygen equipment that will autocorrect flow based on sensor data.

“Having these developmental sensors flying, along with testing in the lab, will show what happens in the aircraft and physiologically under hyperventilation or hypoxia-like conditions, and will inform us as we work to design a mitigative response to protect the pilot,” said Rob Schaeffer, Product Director, Environmental Systems at Cobham Mission Systems.  

They are currently designing equipment today that has inherent ability to communicate, synch with, and connect with their sensing technologies as they evolve, which is a step towards ARGOS, Cobham’s integrated oxygen system goal. This Auto Response Guided Oxygen System, will be a smart data driven, human-machine interface, that has the ability to control the entire pilot oxygen system from “air source to mask”. Comprised of a suite of technologies, ARGOS products will be able to be used individually or together for increased layers of vigilance.