The Use of Micro-Doppler Radar to Identify Service Members at Risk for Musculoskeletal Injury: A Gold Standard Comparison

Project: Research project

Project Details


Non-combat-related musculoskeletal injuries (MSKI) including, but not limited to leg, joint, and back injuries are a significant burden on our military. Eighty percent of Service Members' injuries fall into this category. These injuries reduce the number of days that our Armed Forces are combat-ready and can lead to long-term pain and disability, costing millions of dollars in health care. Although screening tests are available, they are expensive, only available at specific places, and are not effective at identifying individuals at risk for future injuries. Here, we propose a new technology, Micro-Doppler Radar, to better identify individuals at risk for injury before the injury occurs.

Micro-Doppler radar produces micro-Doppler signals (MDS) when a human moves in front of the radar. The MDS contain information about the movement performed that is not seen by the naked eye. We have developed a way to use this MDS to identify different groups of people by the way they move. In this research study, we will test whether this technology can tell the difference between a group of participants who have had knee surgery within the past 2 years and another group of people that has never had knee surgery.

The proposed work will address the FY21 PRORP CTRA, which is a Department of Defense grant that was developed to help keep Service Members healthy, so they can continue to perform their duties. The MDS can also be used to make sure Service Members are ready to return to work, another focus area for the PRORP CTRA. A third focus area is taking care of Service Members while in battle. This technology will be portable and can be used by anyone after brief training in almost any environment including on the battlefield.

The success of the proposed work will significantly improve the ability to identify Service Members at high-risk for injury, providing them the ability to receive additional treatments and therapies prior to resuming work. This will reduce the likelihood of re-injury, long-term pain, and disability. This MDS technology has the ability to help patients worldwide, but will specifically benefit military patients by providing a tool for military healthcare providers to determine whether a Service Member is ready for duty.

In this proposal, we will also address how to expand the use of MDS with the goal of making it portable, cheap, and able to be used by someone with minimal training. This goal will allow this technology to be used in health care at low cost with very little training to physicians or staff.

The benefits of this technology are numerous. This tool would provide almost instant results to the user to determine risk for injury after they perform the required tasks. In the long term, this technology would reduce the number of patients who injure or re-injure themselves. This will prevent long-term pain and disability, resulting in improving their quality of life in the short and long term.

Effective start/end date1/1/21 → …


  • Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs: $1,499,996.00


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.