PPE is every working man’s last line of defence against hazards in the workplace. Why? It’s plain and simple – PPE saves lives. The technology that PPE employs has come a long way from its humble but heroic beginnings during World War I. The most recent proof is that of the newest technology for PPE testing that UK’s Ministry of Defence has introduced to the world last month.
Meet the Porton Man
The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) has created this new animatronic mannequin that will be used to test protective suits and equipment for UK’s Armed Forces. Porton Man is designed to act as a realistic replacement for a soldier. It can walk, march, run, kneel, sit, and even copy the movements of a soldier sighting a weapon.
The name “Porton Man” comes from the place where Dstl commissioned Buckingham-based company i-bodi Technolgy Ltd. to create this breakthrough technology – in Porton Down, Wiltshire. This $1.8 million (£1.1 million) investment was developed using Formula 1 technology, and uses advanced lightweight materials, the latest animatronics, and is decked out with over 100 sensors. This technology will allow the department to test biological and chemical protection suits with real-time data analysis.
i-bodi Technology’s chief executive Jez Gibson-Harris said his firm was assigned to create a lightweight robotic test mannequin based on data collected from 2,500 soldiers, that was easy to operate, and could accomplish a wide range of movement.
The results are impressive: improved head turning, better range of movement, and a much lighter frame than its predecessor – 30lb (14kg) instead of about 176lb (80kg). All of this adds up to more accurate testing of PPE.
The success of Porton Man has shown that technology has certainly taken great strides. Today, the future of safety protection and PPE technology looks very promising.
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