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Augmented reality visors help firefighters navigate fires

Researchers develop hands-free thermal camera to help firefighters spot trapped individuals and potential dangers

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Researchers at a Swiss university have invented a visor that enables firefighters to see through extreme conditions using a thermal camera.

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne researchers created the visor using a thermal camera to help firefighters identify trapped individuals and potential dangers they wouldn’t be able to see otherwise.

While thermal cameras have already been used by many firefighters, they are bulky and hand-held; the Swiss version is hands-free.

“At first it’s hard to know what you’re seeing, if it’s the real thing or not, but you get used to it surprisingly fast and can easily handle the two overlapping views,” Swiss firefighter trainer Jean-marc Pittet told Popular Science.

The visor is built as a set of glasses and camera; researchers eventually plan to incorporate the visor into masks.

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