Defense Research and Devlopment Canada (DRDC) has been researching the prevalence of neck pain present in their rotary-wing aircrew since the 2004 survey on NVG-induced neck strain. In response, Brash developed a novel Helmet Support Exoskeleton (HSE) which can unload headgear induced forces acting on the neck.
Kinematic and Dynamic Modeling
Prototyping and Model Making
A key challenge in the design process was to address operational concerns regarding adjustability and comfort of the HSE for different users, quick-release for emergency egress and minimizing interference with the cockpit environment. Large scale, in-house 3D printers were utilized to create several full scale models to perform quick iterations and user testings.
The HSE consists of a three-linkage passive exoskeleton that connects to the user’s helmet and is attached to the user via a torso harness. The exoskeleton allows for free motion of the neck and head while transferring helmet loads to the torso via the harness, and as a result, unloads the user’s neck.