Futuristic new helmet helps firefighters see through smoke

Helmet features wire framing technology that allows firefighter to map out surroundings, locate victims

Could this be the future for fire helmets? A Swedish designer — with the backing of a local fire brigade — has unveiled an ambitious prototype called the C-Thru Smoke Diving Helmet.

Omer Haciomeroglu, a graduate student at Umea Institute of Design, says the helmet is designed to aid crews in search and rescue missions.

C-thru's vision system integrates several technologies to help firefighters, such as a head-mounted projection display, optical thermal camera, cloud computing, selective active noise cancellation and target acquisition.

"The optical thermal camera captures the imaging of the surrounding area and sends the data to the smoke diver leader's handheld device," according to Haciomeroglu's design proposal.

"The data is calculated there and sent back to the helmet. Newly generated 3D wire-frame data is projected by the head-mounted projectors through the retro-reflective front visor of the helmet.

"This wire-frame outline of their surroundings helps firefighters find a path through the building and locate victims.

"C-thru also simplifies many separate layers of heat and impact protection into a single package, which stabilizes and eases movement."

In addition, the "Selective Active Noise" cancellation feature cancels the sound of the user's breathing and enhances the "potential structural crack and victim sounds in order to provide better information for the smoke diver and better communication with team members."

The project is being sponsored by the Umea Fire Brigade.

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