The U.S. Army has developed a self-test kit that analyzes biological samples to warn troops of exposure to pathogens in the field.
The Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center developed SmartCAR in an effort to allow medics in the field to gather data to inform possible treatment needs, the Army reported Feb 26.
The product, which uses a colorimetric assay, also works to transmit information on the warfighter’s status to commanders through a dismounted situational awareness system called Nett Warrior that can be viewed on a smartphone, the report said.
“[It] is a real innovation because it is a handheld field-ready device that not only determines exposure but provides its own data management and distribution,” said Patricia Buckley, an ECBC research scientist who is part of the SmartCAR development team.
“With more time and funding, SmartCAR will be used in more and more settings, such as relief missions and even hospitals.”
The report also noted other possible uses of the developed technology, including environmental sampling for field reconnaissance activities, testing drinking wells for water quality and Ebola presence awareness that could potentially prevent an outbreak.
The Army said ECBC developed SmartCAR in support of the service branch’s Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center, which is looking into potential interest across other military organizations.
Buckley noted the research team also aims to integrate the technology with the VOCkit chemical agent detector.