Biometric Gloves in Motorsport
In 2018, the FIA (International Automobile Federation) successfully implemented a medical project for the Formula One Championship (Formula 1) - biometric racing gloves with a pulse measurement sensor and oxygen level in the blood. Starting in 2019, the use of such gloves with medical sensors will be a prerequisite for all racing teams.
Rider gloves are a very difficult and complicated sports equipment that must be tested by the FIA for fire resistance and compliance with riders' equipment requirements.
Each pair of gloves is specially made for the anatomical size of the hands for each pilot separately from a special material Nomex (manufactured by DuPont), which has excellent thermal, chemical and radiation protection. This material was invented in the early 1960s.
Sample pilot gloves from the 90s:
Also in racing gloves used advanced technologies for their manufacture, to provide incredible grip, shock absorption and comfort for the hands of the rider. Anatomical palm cut and special material allow you to improve grip, absorb vibration and increase steering control. The outer seams and the special design of the gloves in the wrist area protects the hands when they are bent.
And now the gloves of the riders have also become “smart”, by equipping them with a biometric system that measures in real time the pulse and the level of oxygen in the blood and transmits this data to external medical systems.
Signal Biometrics, which was founded by the Deputy Medical Delegate of the FIA Ian Robertson and the driver of the medical machine Alan van der Merve, took up the development of such a special medical system.
Medical monitoring of the driver's condition is very important in first aid, and in the event of an accident, it is especially necessary to obtain information on the critical parameters of the pilot's body as quickly as possible, and monitor and save changes in real time.
But the medical equipment that is used for this is relatively cumbersome, often used after the incident after the accident, during the transportation of the victim and after transportation already in the medical center.
Moreover, often the medical staff on the track can not get the necessary information due to the fact that after the accident there is no access to the pilot in the first seconds after the disaster.
Even the creation of the Signal Biometrics company itself was prompted by the fact that there were no such special developments on the market.
It was originally planned to use existing medical sensors and simply integrate them into gloves. But further testing according to the FIA rules of such sensors showed that none of the existing samples can withstand the tests for fire resistance, protection against radio frequency interference and be comfortable for the driver.
As a result, Signal Biometrics had to create a glove-embedded medical system from scratch from materials and technologies that are not currently used in products of this kind.
The first photo shows a prototype of such a system, which was further refined, tested and put into serial operation, as a fully working system.
What kind of system is this with the name BIOMETRIC GLOVE model HB1?
Here's how parts of this system look separate.
A flexible pulse oximetric sensor is inserted into the glove, around the finger,
which can determine the pulse of the pilot and the level of oxygen in the blood in a non-invasive way.
Data on blood oxygen saturation is particularly important for determining injuries affecting the racer's respiratory system.
Slightly more sensor sewn around the palm of the hand on the glove.
View of both sensors: Sensor
size for fingers: 10x8x3 mm. Sensor size for the palm: 22x16x3 mm.
Cables from sensors (115 mm - cable length from the sensor on the palm and 250 mm - cable length from the sensor for a finger):
In addition to the sensor, the industrial-grade Bluetooth transmitter that can transmit real-time data up to 500 meters, a small battery with inductive charging is integrated into the glove (a special charging mat also has a separate medical component to “charge” and after the race) and a block of memory for local storage of the readings.
The module is inserted into the pocket in the wrist area on the glove and is connected to the sensors.
Module size 40x42x14 mm.
Stated that the total weight of additional components in a glove (module + cables + sensors) does not exceed 40 grams.
Such a monitoring system in racers gloves sends 20 data packets per second in real time and is designed for continuous operation and transmission and storage of data for at least three hours in a row (usually a race lasts two hours according to the rules).
Transmitted and stored data is encrypted to protect it from being intercepted and used by others. The processed data is also transmitted to the teams to analyze the performance of each rider after the race.
Thanks to this development by Signal Biometrics, even before arriving at the scene of an accident, medical personnel can make a preliminary assessment of the condition of the rider and begin preparing for certain actions to save lives.
For example, if a racer is injured, impaired breathing, then the level of oxygen in the blood will begin to decline sharply and it will be necessary to take resuscitation measures on the spot.
Also now, according to the sensor, it is clear whether it is necessary at all costs to ensure that physicians have access to the rider or you can do it more carefully without consequences for the rest of the race and staff on the track (often the medical teams got into accidents during the rescue race) , because the driver is not in serious danger or he is fine.
After testing the sensor and its components with the FIA, then all the data on their device and placement were transferred to glove manufacturers — Puma, OMP, Alpinestars and Sparco — so that they can integrate this solution into a fire-resistant and special fabric at the factory level when creating such new "Smart" gloves.
The FIA further plans to provide the ability to receive data from the sensors and transmit them to the teams in real time immediately at any time during the race, so far only doctors receive and analyze all the data from the gloves at once.
There is also a plan for the introduction of sensors for respiration rate and temperature of riders. This information will also be necessary for physicians to assess the vital functions of pilots.
Respiratory rate gives a good idea of the health of the rider and the level of stress, and body temperature affects the effectiveness of his actions.
In addition, the FIA has developed a unified standard of biometric sensors that can be used by third-party manufacturers and further expand the capabilities of riders' biometric equipment.