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Home > What's Next > Design Ideas for G-suits:

Design Ideas for G-suits

Introduction

The g-suit is designed and manufactured to meet the needs of fighter pilots. Having worn a g-suit since August 2001 for Orthostatic Intolerance (OI), I have many design ideas. Taking into account the drawbacks of a g-suit (hot, bulky, too big, too small, ugly, uncomfortable, too tight in thighs, takes some getting used to, etc.), a g-suit could be simplified for everyday wear. For Orthostatic Intolerance (OI), the pressure only needs to be 40-50 mmHg - less than a fifth of what fighter pilots need. It could be less technical and more comfortable and usable like clothing. Since there are only a small number of fighter pilots (and g-suits), many more g-suits need to be made to be used for Orthostatic Intolerance (OI). A redesigned g-suit for Orthostatic Intolerance (OI) would also have to meet the FDA safety and effectiveness requirements.

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General Ideas

  • Everyday Use - make for wearing all the time, in every situation
     
  • Sizes - for real world, for all body types, women (with hips and thighs), men, and children of all ages, short, tall, overweight, wheelchair bound, kid's sizes (g-suits and support stockings and MAST)
     
    • Health magazine April 2003 - National Sizing survey funded by retailers, manufacturers, and the U.S. Department of Commerce to be completed by June 2003 "information to make clothes with measurements closer to real life"
       
    • Sizing Systems in the Apparel Industry references for paper about sizing g-suit and paper about sizing clothing for disabled: www.human.cornell.edu/txa/faculty/SizingSystems/about.html
       
    • Measuring Up article 1997 - use of whole-body scanner to create on-line 3-D database of the human form; lab will share research with health and garment industries - CAESAR 3-D Anthropometric Database (Civilian American and European Surface Anthropometry Resource) http://store.sae.org/caesar/
       
  • Fit - It is even possible to meet the measurement guidelines on the g-suit, but still the g-suits does not fit. For my mom, who is 5 feet 6 inches tall, for example, a medium regular was okay lengthwise but not big enough around. The large regular was big enough, but 3 inches longer! This has been a problem and a lot of women are shorter than she is. When the g-suit fits the hips, it is not fitting at the ankles. A way is needed to prevent the g-suit at the inner thigh from sliding down the leg. If g-suits would fit better, there would not be a need for as much inflation.
     
  • Adjust Fit - make fitting, resizing and further adjusting easier because of limited standing ability like for weight change, wide strip of Velcro instead of laces, way to adjust length
     
  • Weight - make as lightweight as possible - material, valve, zippers, pockets, no extras
     
  • Washable - with valve and air bladders
     
  • Fabric - strong, can be worn everyday without damage, Beaufort uses material with "improved abrasion resistance and reduced pilling."
     
  • Low Stretch Fabric - decreases the amount of inflation needed by half to get the same amount of pressure, distributes pressure more evenly over the body, "Anti-G Garment Fabric" patent by Brian P. Doyle (Link will open in new window.) - can use many types of material and color (http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?patentnumber= 5394563)
     
  • Color - real world colors, black, navy, brown, light denim, gray
     
  • Cool - make cooler, lighter fabric, add something to make cooler like - race car drivers' suit with cooling mechanism, cooling wrist bands by Richard Simmons, cleavage coolers, dog cooling bandana, Bare Cooling tights
     
  • Lining - line in satin or slick material like spandex, so fits and moves better without creating bunchiness, smooth against bare skin
     
  • Full Coverage - that does not limit the ability to bend and move, keeps material at inner thigh from sliding down leg, being closed in the back where there are big muscles that "hide" lots of blood the brain could be using, would not need extra layers of clothes that cause bunchiness under g-suit, "Anti-G Garment Fabric" patent by Brian P. Doyle (Link will open in new window.) - prototype uses full coverage g-suit with no cut-outs
     
  • Bladder Coverage - Another kind of g-suit (model #CSU-20/P) has 40% more bladder coverage to help keep blood from pooling in the feet and legs. (http://pma202.navair.navy.mil and http://www.avtechtra.navy.mil and http://www.luke.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123329124)
     
  • Get In and Out Of - increase ease to put on and take off
     
  • Zippers - going both ways, on outside instead of inside of legs to make walking easier, cover zippers to protect things including the g-suit from being shredded, take out zippers completely, take out comfort zippers, use Velcro instead of zippers, Beaufort uses 'RiRi' zippers for "performance, ease of use, and reliability. An additional design enhancement is the fitting of split leg zippers, in lieu of the standard continuous zippers, in order to obviate the possibility of the zippers sustaining fatigue damage in the knee area."
     
  • Reinforcements - prevent shredding, Beaufort uses leather flaps at inseam
     
  • Pockets - Remove the pockets at the ankles and the parachute knife pocket; they add weight.
    Add pocket/holder to put away hose to keep valve from hitting things and from being sat on but that does not cause the valve to leak air. Add pockets at waist like jeans for normal storage.

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Technical Ideas

  • Air Bladders - build air bladders into fabric layer (See "Anti-G Garment Fabric" patent by Brian P. Doyle. Note: Link will open in new window.) or attach/sew separate air bladders into fabric
     
  • Abdominal Bladder - Can the abdominal bladder be made smaller (half size) and still be equally effective?
     
  • Bladders - for major muscles - back of thighs and calves, buttocks, control bladders independently (front and back for sitting)
     
  • Smart - measures blood pressure and pulse then reacts with increase or decrease in air pressure; do the air bladders need to pulse?
     
  • Valve - not as expensive or sophisticated, plastic, lightweight, will not damage furniture when hitting it, easy to use to inflate, good for blowing into or like a pump up blood pressure cuff, does not leak
     
  • Pressure - Research shows Orthostatic Intolerance (OI) relieved by 40-50 mm Hg. Fighter pilots need over five times the pressure when pulling positive G's.
     
  • Measure Pressure - instrument to measure pressure
     
  • Pressure Relief Valves - to prevent overpressuring, if necessary, like MAST has
     
  • FDA - meet safety and effectiveness requirements

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Customer Care Ideas

  • Availability - Currently very few g-suits are available compared to the number of people with Orthostatic Intolerance (OI). Getting all of the condemned g-suits from the military would help, but it still would not be enough. When the military changes to liquid filled g-suits, hopefully they will donate the current g-suits to OI. Modified g-suits also need to be available to meet the need.
     
  • Affordable - to buy more than one - like 3 for wearing and washing, have more than one color, get more with weight changes
     
  • Insurance - What is the process to have insurance pay for medical items?
     
  • Care Instructions - how to put one on, how to adjust fit, how to wash
     
  • Support - make sure getting right size and fit
     
  • Repair - way to repair leaks like MAST has, help for other repairs - fabric, zippers
     
  • Educate - with transparent product

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Other Ideas

**A new g-suit design, called Adjusted Compression G-Pants, is being developed and custom-fit prototypes can be ordered.**

  • Air vs. Elastic - Research by Dr. Wilfrid H. Brook made reference to work in 1954 "A comparison between an air-filled suit (an experimental anti-G suit) and an elastic form of garment providing counterpressure showed that the air-filled suit was more effective in treating postural hypotension." Is this still true with new fabric technology?
     
  • Tight Clothing - something other than g-suit, make like tight clothing or tight for underneath clothing
    Two research papers noticed results with just a tight-fitted but uninflated g-suit. In research by Dr. Wilfrid H. Brook, "An unexplained finding on one occasion were identical blood pressure measurements both with the suit uninflated and inflated." In research by Dr. Victor A. Convertino et al., "The success of the G-suit alone without pressure application may reflect the simple effectiveness of wearing tight-fitting garments in patients with conditions similar to those of our patient."
    If g-suits would fit better, there would not be a need for as much inflation.
     
  • Capstan Suit - A completely different type of design called a capstan suit is being further developed for military use in high altitude and anti-g protection and for medical use in orthostatic intolerance by Thomas R. Sharp.
     
  • Pants - make more like pants, one piece, no need for shorts in back, zipper or button fly
     
  • Removable Air Bladder(s) - take jeans (any color) one size larger than normal, attach lining, Velcro in removable air bladder(s), pocket, blood pressure valve, as normal looking as possible, washable, not stretch, buy more colors separately, only need one (set of) air bladder(s), men's and women's and children's sizes
     
  • Slim Clear Air Bladders - with wrap around to pull tight and wear under clothes with washable porous lining

Do you have more design ideas? Send me an

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