This augmented reality tech could help fire fighters navigate smoky, flaming buildings

From lugging around pounds of gear to the constant battle to keep your breath in the midst of rising heat and choking smoke, it’s not easy being a firefighter. But technology could be on the verge of solving one of the toughest problems for the brave men and women who go rushing into burning buildings, as opposed to rushing out.

Popular Science reports a team at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), a Swiss university, has developed a new visor that allows firefighters to see through smoke and darkness by using a thermal camera. The thermal camera essentially overlays on top of the regular field of vision, adding a second layer of visibility (i.e. a body across the room, or on the floor) so firefighters can keep tabs on the visual surroundings, and what they might be missing in the smoke.

Thermal cameras are obviously nothing new, of course, but current versions are handheld. The model proposed by the research team wants something that would be hands-free and mounted within a firefighter’s helmet (the early version works off a pair of glasses). A veteran firefighter who helped develop the tech, Jean-Marc Pittet, said it can take some getting used to at first — but before long the overlapping views start to make sense and can prove critical when navigating a fire scene

Check out the augmented-reality tech in action below and let us know what you think:


(Via Popular Science)

More from around the web