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Study finds wearable smart watches lead to mentally tougher soldiers

The U.S. Army is taking a look at stress using smart watches and high-tech rings.
The U.S. Army is taking a look at stress using smart watches and high-tech rings.(Courtesy of DIVIDS)
Published: Mar. 26, 2021 at 8:17 PM CDT
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FORT HOOD, Texas (KWTX) - The U.S. Army is taking a look at stress using smart watches and high-tech rings.

Researchers from the Army and Booz Allen Hamilton, a firm that offers analysis and engineering services to public and private organizations, say they’re asking soldiers to wear the rings and watches with the goal of helping them handle stress better. They say this will make soldiers more efficient in training, combat, and in life.

The watches track things like heart rate, body temperature and other physiological data and measure how soldiers respond to stress and physical activity.

Data that Texas A&M Central Texas professor Kimberly Berry says could lead to improved mental health.

“I wear one called a whoop,” she said.

“I’ve worn it for over a year and the information you get back is so beneficial. I think that will help the soldiers feel more comfortable in speaking about their stressors and knowing that the body’s response to stress is normal. I think it will become an avenue to have meaningful conversation.”

So far, around 1,500 soldiers have taken part. The Army hasn’t said if they plan to continue the study or expand it, but the other military branches have their own planned studies for the coming months.

Berry says she hopes the research is expanded more in the months to come.

“If they feel that these devices are beneficial to help the soldiers better handle the stress and if that makes them more effective soldiers overall, I definitely think the wearable devices could become part of the uniform.”

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