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The United States Army is engineering a new product designed to keep its soldier’s hands warm without gloves. The United States Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine (USARIEM) has been working on a solution for cold hands over the past few years. Their solution is a device that heats your forearms to increase blood circulation in your fingers and thus keep your hands warm.
We all know how difficult it could be to do simple tasks when our hands are cold. Unlocking doors, operating mobile devices, and even driving can all be very difficult tasks to do when your hands are numb from the coldness. Now imagine soldiers having to handle their firearms and military devices out in freezing weather. Cold and stiff hands significantly increase the difficulty of these relatively simple tasks for soldiers. Soldiers could use gloves, although gloves are known for significantly decreasing finger dexterity.
Fingers become stiff in cold weather mainly due to decreased blood flow in the area. Warm blood coming from the body’s core keeps the hands and fingers warm. Another reason for decreased dexterity in cold weather is due to joint fluid, the lubricant that fills the cavity between two bones. When the joint fluid cools down it could seriously impact hand functions.
USARIEM researchers have discovered that heating body parts above the finger, such as the forearms, could increase blood circulation and therefore increase the temperature of the person’s fingers.
The researchers wanted to develop a device capable of heating up hands and maintaining a soldier’s finger dexterity. Popularmechanics.com reports that the device would have to be small enough so that its wearer wouldn’t be bothered by it.
Work on the final product has already begun, although it is still unknown what the final product may end up looking like. So far, it is likely that the device will simply be some form of heating pad strapped onto the soldier’s forearms.
We are still a few years away from military personnel operating the personal heating dexterity device. However, once the device is introduced, it is likely that a commercial version will be available shortly after.