The new design uses an array of sensors and thermal cameras to help wearers locate victims
Researchers in Scotland have unveiled a new smart helmet for firefighters, using sensor technology, thermal cameras and artificial intelligence (AI) to help wearers locate people faster.
The team comes from the newly opened National Robotarium in Edinburgh, which developed the helmet in collaboration with Scottish Fire and Rescue services. The fire service’s training facility in Edinburgh was used for trials of the design before its completion.
The helmet works by combining images from mounted radar and inertial sensors, as well as thermal cameras, to give firefighters real-time insight into their location, as well as the location of their team and any victims within a blaze.
“Firefighters often operate in environments with very low or no visibility due to the vast amount of smoke released from a fire,” said Dr. Chris Lu, who led the project. “This can make detecting the location of potential victims and whereabouts of firefighters very challenging in situations that are often extremely time-sensitive.”
“This new technology has the potential to support on-the-ground firefighters and scene commanders to make crucial in-the-moment decisions that can enhance search rescue efficiency, ensure safer collaboration between teammates and, most importantly, improve outcomes for potential victims of fire scenes,” he added.
The design incorporates these sensors onto a normal firefighter’s helmet, making it a relatively cost-effective and easily deployable solution, allowing teams to integrate the design into their standard gear rather than requiring the rollout of new equipment.
Next, the team is hoping to integrate 3D mapping technologies into the helmet to give wearers a more in-depth, visual understanding of their surroundings, as well as an efficient communication system between frontline firefighters and their off-site team.