Dr. Chowdury Receives A Grant To Develop A Helmet That Will Keep Law Enforcement Safe
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has awarded a $994,591 grant to Dr. Chowdhury for a study to develop a mission-adaptive, multipurpose helmet for the law enforcement (LE) officers and first responders. While responding to active shooter responses, civil disorders, or motor vehicle patrol situations, LE officers and first responders are vulnerable to a wide range of head injuries, including concussions, in various ways. Hence, a state-of-the-art LE helmet needs to provide concussive force and ballistic protection and be modular to provide mission-adaptability through the addition of functional accessories, such as communication devices, lighting equipment, body camera, and face shield in modern crowd control operations. By combining the principles and methods from four major areas—reverse engineering, materials design, injury biomechanics, and human factors—Dr. Chowdhury and his team will develop a multipurpose, user-centered LE ballistic helmet by optimizing four key design features: 1) maximizing the thermal balance underneath the helmet shell for the prolonged wear, 2) maximizing the helmet positional stability during dynamic movements, 3) identifying a safe envelope of weight and center of mass (i.e., weight distribution) that can be supported by both young and older police officers, and 4) minimizing the concussion threat by designing a novel suspension padding system attenuating the shock wave propagation of both linear and angular ballistic impacts. In 2021, Dr. Chowdhury was also awarded a $562,253 grant from the DHS to determine injury-mitigating ergonomic design solutions in order to develop a first-of-its-kind NextGen firefighting helmet that will provide both fire and ballistic protection.
His current research focuses on finite element modeling and simulation of traumatic brain injury, musculoskeletal health biomechanics, virtual reality applications in rehabilitation engineering, and helmet, exoskeleton, and prosthetic designs. He is currently serving as the Chair-Elect of the Occupational Ergonomics Technical Group of Human Factors and Ergonomics Society for the 2020 – 2022 term. Join us in congratulating Dr. Chowdhury!