Dexterity-Preserving Gloves Could Provide Warmth to Service Members (and Probably Save Taxpayers Millions)
We recently read that the Army was developing a Personal Heating Dexterity Device—or PhD2, because apparently the U.S. government doesn’t already have enough acronyms. As we read about their efforts to keep soldiers’ hands warm, it got us thinking that Toasty Touch gloves could be another option for service members with frigid fingers.
I’ve never been on active military duty, but I can imagine that being a soldier when it’s freezing cold outside is hard. In addition to the physical discomfort of hanging out in sub-zero temperatures, you also have to skirt that fine line between dexterity and warmth in your fingers.
Thicker gloves that keep hands warm reduce sensation and “decrease fine-motor dexterity by 50 to 75 percent,” according to the researchers working on these Ph2 devices. For someone whose tasks include loading ammunition and treating wounded soldiers, that’s a serious issue. I mean, when I have to take my gloves off to answer a text I think it’s a big deal.
The other option—taking gloves off—doesn’t exactly solve the problem, either. Our body’s natural reaction to cold is to reduce blood flow to extremities (like fingers and toes). So when it’s cold, blood gets rerouted from extremities like fingers, toes, arms, and legs to keep vital organs like the heart and lungs warm.
So the PhD2 device should remove the trade-off of thick gloves or freezing fingers for those serving in cold temperatures. But instead of wearing it over their hands like gloves, soldiers wear the device around their forearm. It works by tricking the body into thinking it’s not cold outside. It warms the soldiers’ forearms, opening blood vessels to keep blood flowing to the hands in cold temperatures.
In initial testing, the device worked as intended, allowing soldiers to take off those cumbersome gloves. But as is the case with many functions in our government, that’s not the end of the story. Right now, the estimated timeline for getting these into the hands of soldiers is 2026 to 2028. That is a pretty long time for soldiers with freezing hands to wait while fumbling around with thick, dexterity-limiting gloves.
The Pentagon isn’t exactly known for being frugal with taxpayer dollars either. So the actual cost to provide these hand-warming devices is still up in the air. For the price of a single toilet seat cover, they could purchase about 115 pairs of Toasty Touch gloves. We’re betting the Pentagon could afford to buy all 1.4 million active service members Toasty Touch gloves way before 2026.
Our gloves are thin enough to allow you to use your fingers for all kinds of everyday tasks. We haven’t tested them in battle, but we’re open to the possibility of partnering with our Armed Forces to see how they perform. Consider this our notice – we have an option for the Army (and the Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines, Navy, and Space Force) to keep service members’ hands toasty warm and preserve critical dexterity out in the field. If the head of the Defense Logistics Agency who oversees Pentagon procurement is reading this blog, let’s chat.