HDR Team Combines Advanced Robotics and High Containment for U.S. DOD Protection from Chemical Weapons

(January 6, 2014) – HDR Architecture teamed with Smith Carter to plan, design, engineer and provide construction support for a chemical testing chamber for the U.S. Department of Defense. The chamber integrates advanced robotics and sensor technologies within a high-containment environment, resulting in a first-of-its-kind facility for testing and evaluating personal protective equipment against threats from chemical warfare agents.

The Individual Protection Ensemble Mannequin System (IPEMS) project led by MRIGlobal incorporates a humanoid mannequin, chemical sensing system and exposure chamber which will be used to test personnel protective equipment (PPE) for the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force. The self-balancing, fully articulated IPEMS mannequin performs realistic human motions, representative of warfighter tasks, while wearing Individual Protective Ensembles (IPE). While performing realistic movements, the mannequin is exposed to chemical warfare agent (CWA) within the high containment environmental test chamber. Chemical Sensor Tags (CSTs) located under the IPE verify protection from chemical agents by detecting, in real time, any that break through the IPE.

The project is led by the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense within the Department of Defense, and the program is managed by the Product Director Cross Commodity Advanced Threat and Test Infrastructure (PD-CCATTI).

MRIGlobal, the prime contractor, assembled several organizations into an integrated delivery team, with specialized scientific and technological design and development capabilities to meet the mission requirements. The design and execution team has been led by MRIGlobal, serving as the prime contractor, with responsibilities including systems engineering, test planning, sensor selection, material compatibility analysis, safety, system commissioning, and program management. Boston Dynamics provides robotics and associated development including the robotic mannequin; HHI Corporation is responsible for construction and installation of the exposure chamber and facility support systems; Measurement Technologies Northwest USA is responsible for mannequin surface and thermal control systems; and Sensor Research and Development Corporation (SRD) is providing specialized sensor technologies.

The HDR Architecture Science + Technology group (formerly CUH2A), provided project management, scientific planning & design, structural, electrical, security, access control and environmental safety interface engineering, as well as commissioning support