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U.S. Military Uses AI Monitored Wearable Devices to Detect Infectious Disease in Service Members

AI watch

In a public-private collaboration with a technology company, the U.S Department of Defense’s (DoD) Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) developed AI monitored wearable devices that were used to detect infections in military personnel during the COVID-19 pandemic. The project is known as the Rapid Assessment of Threat Exposure (RATE),1 which characterizes infections as a security and combat readiness threat.

RATE uses a predictive artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm that leverages biometric data from commercial wearable devices like rings and watches to try to detect early onset of infectious disease in people.2 Philips, a private technology company, is involved in developing RATE’s AI algorithm. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies RATE as a general wellness device.3

Jeff Schneider, program manager for the RATE project said:

The DoD invests heavily in maintaining the readiness of its workforce to conduct essential missions. However, the risk of infectious disease, like COVID-19, has long been an unpredictable variable. With RATE, the DoD can use commercial wearables to noninvasively monitor a service member’s health and provide early alerts to potential infection before it spreads.4

The RATE project was initially implemented with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency in 2020 during the COVID pandemic and DoD is planning to extend it to new user groups.5

 RATE uses a predictive artificial intelligence algorithm that was trained using hospital-acquired data from monitored cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection. The algorithm uses biometric data from commercial grade off-the-shelf wearable devices.6

During the pandemic, the RATE algorithm was used for early detection of infectious diseases up to 48 hours before symptoms manifested. The algorithm predicted infections up to as early as six days prior to onset of symptoms and included asymptomatic cases.

AI Wearable Devices to Fill In “Gaps in Public Health Responses” to Epidemics”

A 2022 study published in the journal Nature’s Scientific Reports highlighted the use of the algorithm-powered consumer wearable devices to “continuously measure physiological metrics” of individuals to control disease spread.7 Volunteer participants in the study were healthcare workers working at multiple medical centers in the U.S. during 2020, who wore “smart” rings linked to a smartphone app to detect possible COVID disease.

Authors of the 2022 study explained how “consumer wearable devices” could be used by public health officials to monitor infectious diseases in populations:

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted gaps in the public health responses to transmissible disease epidemics. If continuous, passive screening tools for infectious diseases such as COVID-19 could be developed and deployed, they may hold potential to substantially reduce the spread and impact of disease by assisting individuals in recognizing when they should self-isolate, seek testing, and possibly obtain early medical intervention. Consumer wearable devices that continuously measure physiological metrics such as dermal temperature, heart rate, and respiratory rate can establish users’ individual baseline patterns and allow detection of deviations from their baselines. Because these physiological variables can change in response to infection consumer wearables may hold promise as broadly available tools for early illness detection.

DoD Plans to Expand RATE to More Military Personnel

Navin Natoewal, head of integrated technology solutions at Philips who worked with DoD on the RATE project, said:

Because our algorithm is device agnostic, we can use biomarker data from any commercial grade, off-the-shelf wearable. We then run those markers against our clinical data sets in the cloud to create a RATE wellness score. The score has proven to be indicative of onset of infections. We can offer it through a licensing model to anyone who wants to add this capability to their device or as a stand-alone service.8

DoD has received an additional $10 million from Congress to expand the RATE project that began in 2020. The funding will be used to include 4,500 more users. One group will be the Air Combat Command’s first sergeants. The Command has a new Diamond Care Initiative Plan that promotes health and welfare of its 360 first sergeants, who will be given wearables to monitor their overall health and vital benchmarks.9

Currently, the wearable devices used will include Garmin watches and Oura rings, but the project is aiming to add three additional popular wearable devices.10


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Click here to view References:

1 U.S. Department of Defense. DoD Investing in Wearable Technology That Could Rapidly Predict Disease. Apr. 28, 2023.
2 Verdict. US DOD to expand wearable devices investment to detect infectious diseases. May 1, 2023.
3 National Guard Association of the United States. DoD Investing in Wearable Technology That Could Rapidly Predict Disease. May 9, 2023.
4 DoD. DOD Investing in Wearable Technology That Could Rapidly Predict Disease. Apr. 28, 2023.
5 Ibid.
6 Ibid.
7 Mason AE, Hecht FM, Davis SK et al. Detection of COVID-19 using multimodal data from a wearable device: results from the first TemPredict Study. Scientific Reports 2022; 12 (3463).
8 DoD. DOD Investing in Wearable Technology That Could Rapidly Predict Disease. Apr. 28, 2023.
9 Ibid.
10 Ibid.

7 Responses

  1. I use an AI app. to identify birds when in the field. It identifies calls and songs, and it also makes enough mistakes. Mistakes of a disease can be devastating to the recipient.

    1. What is your point?

      A MASSIVE part of the current ANTI-FREEDOM take-over problem is people PASSIVELY, WILLINGLY, KNOWINGLY or BLINDLY going along with any of this new so-called technology.

  2. This is TERRIFYING and should be RESISTED and FLAT-OUT REJECTED!

    OLD ADAGE: Just because something CAN be done, does not mean it SHOULD be done.

    Stay God-Centered – it’s the only way!
    The closer one stays to the NATURAL WORLD, the closer one stays to GOD!

  3. This tactic could have become far more mainstream if in the spring of 2020 Dr Eric Topol got his wish of having 100 million Americans outfitted with smart trackers to be supposedly monitored for signs of covid. He said this in a videotaped interview for WebMD that’s on youtube. Topol is the founder and director of the Scripps Institute, a very prominent physician proponent of AI medicine. IMHO he very likely supports AI for transhumanism and technocracy given the circle of powerful people he associates with, hence the incessant media chattering on the rise of AI. However, the media doesn’t mention that IBM, at the lead on the AI medicine project (and continuous digital ID tracking), is quietly failing on that front. In 2016 IBM paid billions for Truven’s massive medical records database converting it to blockchain for the project but recently showed its hand with its recent sale of Watson Health. Prior to that sale IBM sold off a radiology conglomerate it spent billions on to replace radiologist physicians with AI algorithms. Hopefully this trend of overreaching continues to backfire.

    Keep your saltshaker handy when it comes to claims of success with gene-based medicine applications, AI medicine, and AI in general. There’s a lot of pretending going on to seduce and intimidate us.

  4. NOT GOOD! Monitoring is the operative word. We need to go back to cave man days. AI and surveillance is OUR BIGGEST ENEMY. Unless you are a Marxist. Go OFFGRID!

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