Video: High-tech device shows firefighters escape route

The system measures the steps a firefighter takes inside the building and a compass to determine the route they take


MONS, Belgium — A technology company has developed a system that uses a specialized helmet to guide firefighters out of burning building and guide rescuers to downed firefighters.

TechCrunch reported that Hateya, a finalist for Microsoft’s Imagine Cup 2013, invented a helmet with augmented reality glasses, as well as a small computer and sensors inside the firefighters’ clothing to keep track of his or her location. To find their way out, the firefighters would follow the arrows that appear on the glasses, according to the report.

The system works with a click of a button built into the clothing and enables a “ComeBack” system, according to the report. In the current prototype, the system measures the steps a firefighter takes inside the building and a compass to determine the route they take.

The engineers behind the project are testing the system with a number of fire departments in Belgium and have added another component making it easier to track multiple firefighters in a building, according to the report.

Officers outside the burning building can also use the “back office” application to get a full picture of the situation inside the building, along with information about the location of every crew member, according to the report.

In the next version, engineers plan to work on enabling two-way communications and incorporate structure floor plans to allow officers to plot a route of the building. It also will have a video feed to give those outside the building a better idea of the situation inside, according to the report.

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