Leaving Behind Cumbersome Protection Equipment

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Current chemical and biological threat environment consists of “broadly acting, highly pathogenic, and sometimes immediately lethal threats”. According to US DARPA, “despite substantial financial investments and advances in the CB Defense enterprise over many decades, current personal protective equipment solutions add logistical, mobility, and thermal challenges to the warfighter/stability operations care provider, which place their missions at risk.”

A new program seeks gear that can guarantee troops’ survival amid multiple chemical and biological agents.

DARPA’s Biological Technologies Office launched the Personalized Protective Biosystem, or PPB program to rapidly produce wearable technology that prevents threatening agents from entering the body and cutting-edge barriers that can neutralize damaging agents when they come into contact with people’s skin, eyes and airways, according to defenseone.com. 

The program ultimately aims to boost protection against toxic threats of the present and future, while simultaneously eliminating bulky, cumbersome protective equipment that can limit military personnel as they combat unpredictable dangers. While protective products are generally thick and not-so-adaptable, the PPB program aims to modernize textile protection by taking “cues from natural systems capable of protecting against a diverse array of threats.” 

“The Personalized Protective Biosystem will provide on-demand, broad-spectrum protection that can evolve at the pace of emerging threats,” officials wrote.