Who: Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI)
Where: Atlanta, GA; Charleston, SC; Aberdeen, MD
Languages: C, ASM
The I-BESS project was sponsored by the U.S. Army Rapid Equipping Force (REF). I-BESS was developed to collect data on the effect of IED blasts on a soldier. Many soldiers were coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and the Army needed data to understand how soldiers were being injured.
The I-BESS system consisted of four parts: a soldier body unit (SBU), a vehicle unit mounted to the back of each seat (VIA), a headset, and a black box recorder which stored the data inside each vehicle. The SBU and headset were designed to collect directionality, pressure, force, and head rotation that a soldier experienced during an IED event.
Phillip was the lead developer for the VIA system. The VIA system utilized bluetooth, wifi, RFID, and CAN to communicate with the other products in the ecosystem. It also included a high-g accelerometer to measure force during an IED event. When a soldier sat in a seat, the VIA would exchange wifi connection information over RFID, download the stored event data, and send the data to the black box computer. Both the VIA and black box recorder collected their own IMU data during IED events involving the vehicle.
In the early stages Phillip was responsible for bringup of the new design, working closely with the HW and RF teams to debug issues. One of the key parts - the RFID controller - had very poor documentation from TI, and the RF group was undergoing restructuring. Phillip reverse engineered the communication protocol using example binaries provided from TI and produced an Interface Control Document (ICD) for the part.
The project involved frequent travel to the SPAWAR facility in Charleston, SC to perform various tests: fit check, radio jamming, installation, in-vehicle performance. During later stages of the project, the travel shifted to the U.S. Army proving grounds in Aberdeen, MD, where live demolition tests were performed.