Wearable Technology Studio – Anti-G Trouser for Fighter Pilots

This studio introduces students to a research-based design approach where teams work with interdisciplinary project mentors from non-design backgrounds ranging from aerospace and mechanical engineering to health and medical professionals. Students will be introduced to soft materials, smart textiles, and other technological advances in sensors and microcontrollers.

This project: the development of Non-Pneumatic Anti-G trousers for Fat Jetfighter Pilots by students Sujie Lin, Eleanor Watson, Aron Lee was developed with Servitec, a military defense contractor in the UK.

What we did

  • Literature review
  • Problem definition and project proposal
  • Materials research
  • Design, prototyping and testing
  • Create a final working prototype
  • Present project to "client"

Clients / Collaborators

Project Overview

When fighter pilots conduct extreme maneuvers midair, centrifugal force forces blood away from their brains and into their legs. This can result in temporary G-LOC (Gravity-induced Loss of Consciousness), which poses an enormous threat to the fighter pilot's life and the aircraft. Current G-suit models utilize large pneumatic bags, which create discomfort due to the excessive insulation they provide and the lack of mobility they create. This project aims to create a comfortable G-suit trouser that can exert the same pressure as current g-suit models within 0.1 seconds. Our solution utilizes SMAs (Shape Memory Alloys), which immediately transform into a remembered shape when electrified to a certain temperature.

Design Process

The design development included a continuous iterative process of using various patterns along with the SMA (Shape memory alloys are alloys with the ability to essentially “remember” a certain shape it was in) to provide the right amount of compression without causing discomfort to the users. According to verbal communication with head designer Paul Oliver, while current g-suits are functionally adequate, they are physically uncomfortable to the wearer as the nylon airbags are not breathable and have the tendency to increase core body temperature. The incorporation of SMA’s into g-suits will alleviate the problem by not only reducing bulk but introducing breathability to the pressure elements of the suit.

Student Designers

Sujie Lin
Eleanor Watson
Aron Lee