Navy

Royal Marines pioneer 'game-changer' technology to eliminate heat illness

The technology introduced in the spring has already saved the life of one individual and prevented a couple of very serious casualties.

Training to become a Royal Marines commando is hard and arduous – and now pioneering technology is being used to help eliminate the risk of potentially fatal heat illness as recruits push themselves to the limit.

The OBAN (Open Body Area Network) state-of-the-art body monitor, records trainee commandos' physiological data, which could all but eliminate the most serious cases of exertion. 

Introduced in spring of this year it has already saved the life of one individual and prevented a couple of very serious casualties at Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM) at Lympstone.

The OBAN monitor is the result of more than three years of work and research led by the Royal Navy's scientific experts from the Institute of Naval Medicine (INM) in Gosport and the US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, plus the Royal Marines team at Lympstone in Devon.

OBAN records key physiological features as a trainee tackles arduous activities such as the nine-mile speed march or the gruelling '30 miler', which epitomises commando training.

Early recognition of exertional heat illness is key to allowing effective cooling as soon as possible.

Untreated, heatstroke can lead to multiple organ failure, permanent disability or, in the worst cases, loss of life.

The OBAN and the data it feeds back is hailed as a 'game changer' by staff at Lympstone, with more than 200 recruits already benefiting from the system.