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), 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. 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.

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 has received an additional $10 million from Congress to expand the RATE project that began in 2020.

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

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