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Even Firefighters Are Getting Wearable Technology

One thing that our team over at Tech & Innovation Daily is covering a lot lately is wearable technology.

Well, thanks to this new innovation, even firefighters are getting in on the action!

Researchers at the Vienna University of Technology have developed a radical new technology that could give firefighters an edge when they rush into burning buildings.

They’re calling it the ProFiTex system. Essentially, it’s a helmet that’s packed with infrared sensors that project real-time, color-coded surface temperatures.

This allows firefighters to see if a room up ahead is safe to enter. And better yet, it also lets them identify people through smoke. All of which is projected onto a head-mounted display.

As co-developer Christian Schoenauer says, “We use the depth information to create a model of the environment, of the house or of a room – and then we map the thermal information onto that model. So what we get in the end is a textured 3-D model which, for example, could be sent to an operational commander in the firefighting scenario.”

The technology creates a problem, though.

According to team leader, Professor Hannes Kaufmann, “One of the problems is how much we should show the firefighters. We do not want to give them false safety. For example, if we reconstruct the floor and it’s fully intact, but one second later the floor breaks down and we still show a fully intact floor, this could be very dangerous for the firefighter. So the question here is how much to display and which information to give to the firefighter directly.”

It’s not a perfect solution, to be sure. But it certainly beats rushing into a burning building and feeling your way around in heavy smoke.

If only such a technology could keep firefighters out of harm’s way altogether!