The Office of Naval Research (ONR) in the US has introduced a 3D computer simulation programme capable of measuring equipment weight, distribution, and effects on body mechanics, as well as individual soldier performance.

According to ONR, soldiers often carry more than 100lb of gear, including body armour, weapons, and night-vision technology, which results in reduced agility and other physical inefficiencies.

The new programme, called enhanced technologies for optimisation of warfighter load (ETOWL), offers better mobility, enhancing the movement of soldiers.

Naval Research vice-chief brigadier general Kevin Killea said: "ETOWL fits perfectly within ONR’s mission to develop groundbreaking technologies that enhance the resilience, physical superiority and overall warfighting performance of US Marines."

With a colour-coded system, ETOWL will be able to measures the stress placed on each person’s joints, as well as balance, flexibility, and centre of gravity.

The programme features seven different male and female Marine Corps body types.

"It’s very exciting to see ETOWL transition from ONR prototype to a technology that will enhance human load."

According to ONR programme manager Dr Peter Squire, the new programme will prevent future injuries and reduce the time and financial cost of unnecessary field trials.

Squire said: "It’s very exciting to see ETOWL transition from ONR prototype to a technology that will enhance human load and performance for the Marine Corps.

"This is the kind of research that’s very rewarding because it provides a direct benefit to our nation’s warfighters."

Currently, ETOWL and its companion software are being delivered to the Gruntworks Marine Expeditionary Rifle Squad, which will test existing and emerging equipment that may help infantry Marines.

ONR said that the ETOWL will be renamed GruntSim after its delivery to the US Marine Corps.

Image: The new ETOWL programme is aimed to enhance individual soldier performance. Photo: courtesy of Office of Naval Research / US Navy.