Inside the Gates: Winter gloves for soldiers could become obsolete

Inside the Gates: Winter gloves for soldiers could become obsolete
Published: Mar. 23, 2022 at 1:46 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - U.S. Army researchers may have found the solution for keeping the hands of soldiers warm during winter without wearing gloves.

Tests continue on the Personal Heating Dexterity Device, or PhD2, created by researchers at the Massachusetts-based U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine.

Volunteers wore cold-weather Army gear during recent tests, but kept their hands uncovered at 32 degrees. The tests worked.

That has Army leaders encouraged.

“You can’t expose your skin at 30 below, and so that’s a problem if I have to adjust something,” said Maj. Gen. Brian Eifler, the commanding general of Army Alaska. “What’s the best mitten to do that, to use with your weapon?”

The prototype resembles heating a pad. Researchers believe by increasing blood flow just above the hand, some of that warmth travels to the fingers.

Blood flow to the hands and feet, according to researchers, drops in the cold. The body sends more blood to protect and warm its core, where all of the major organs are located. Finding a way to heat up the extremities has been difficult.

“What’s the best combination of, you know, a first-layer glove, and a second-layer glove so that we can keep soldiers’ warm, and not only that, but they can do their job in the Arctic,” Eifler said.

The answer may no longer involve gloves.

Army researchers are working to make the device more portable, and user-friendly for the uniforms of the future. There’s no word when soldiers could actually use it in the field.

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