Leader

Collapse

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

**New technology being developed for FF safety**

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • **New technology being developed for FF safety**

    MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) - Gel-filled acoustic sensors and a
    variation of wireless Internet technology may be the foundation for
    new equipment that keeps firefighters safe by constantly monitoring
    their vital signs and voice.
    But first, scientist Mike Masterman and his engineers must be
    sure the device they are trying to develop will collect the data
    they want without malfunctioning in thick smoke or melting in the
    heat of a burning building.
    Masterman, founder of Philippi-based Extreme Endeavors and
    Consulting, watched Thursday as Clarksburg firefighter George
    Hayhurst crawled into a smoke-filled building to test the
    components of the Electronic Lifeline.
    Initially, the experiment failed. An antenna shifted, blocking
    the signal from the sensors packed into a bag on Hayhurst's belt.
    On the second try, with components firmly held by duct tape, it
    worked.
    The jagged lines of Hayhurst's heartbeat appeared on a laptop
    computer where electrical engineer Todd Leonhardt captured the data
    for later analysis.
    "Overall, it went well," Leonhardt said. "We're going to
    learn a lot from it and improve."
    Masterman and his team are working under a $100,000 grant from
    the National Institutes of Health to develop a sensor system they
    plan to incorporate into a lightweight firefighting suit. Masterman
    hopes to land a second NIH grant for $750,000 to develop the
    prototype next year.
    Many people are working on technology that could benefit the
    nation's 28,000 fire departments, he said.
    "The problem is the firefighter gets treated like a Christmas
    tree: Hang this device off you. Hang that device off you. And
    before you know it, you have 30 pieces," Masterman said. "Our
    goal is to make it all in one."
    A heart attack brought on by overexertion is the No. 1 cause of
    death among the nation's firefighters, Masterman said.
    Increasingly, fire departments are designating safety officers, but
    they need a tool that allows them to monitor people.
    Adding to the challenge is the nature of firefighting: The
    search for victims is done mainly on hands and knees, in blackness
    and extreme heat. Firefighters don't have a free hand for a radio
    to say when they're in trouble.
    Military special forces units use headsets to communicate, "but
    they haven't come into play yet in the fire industry," Masterman
    said.
    That's partly because firefighters don't present a large enough
    commercial market to make it a worthwhile investment for venture
    capitalists, he said. "It takes someone like me, who is a
    firefighter, to get out there and get the grants."
    The acoustic sensors were developed by Michael Scanlon, a
    mechanical engineer at the Army Research Laboratory in Adelphi, Md.
    Years ago, he got the idea of a gel-filled pad that could be used
    as a baby monitor, recording vital signs regardless of the baby's
    position for research into sudden infant death syndrome.
    Then he thought about military applications, figuring it could
    be placed under an injured soldier to help medics decide who needs
    treatment first. But now the Army is focusing on body-worn sensors
    that could be built into helmets and other gear.
    Scanlon ran his own experiments Thursday alongside Masterman,
    whose company also has a contract to develop a medical monitoring
    system for the Army's Natick Soldier Center in Massachusetts.
    Natick plans to incorporate sensors into a high-tech uniform it
    hopes to have ready for use in 2008. Besides ballistic, biological
    and chemical protection, "the future soldier also wants
    situational awareness," said Bill Haskell, Natick's technical
    program development manager.
    Scanlon said his acoustic sensors can even indicate when a body
    is shivering, warning the data reader that a soldier might be
    suffering from hypothermia.
    During the tests, firefighters crawled, laid down, then
    retrieved a mannequin. Theoretically, the recorded data will show
    when they were moving, still or exerting themselves.
    Blood pressure, heart rate, pulse and breathing are captured in
    a stream of sound that will then be separated by computer and used
    to generate numbers.
    Masterman's team is unable to do complete real-time analysis
    now, but the tests help get them closer to that goal. In the
    prototype, they also hope to miniaturize the components.
    "We want to be able to find a way to do the processing not at a
    computer," he said, "but on the belt of a firefighters, with a
    device the size of a deck of cards."
    Masterman, a former science coordinator and manager at the
    Amundesen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica, formed Extreme
    Endeavors in 1998 and now develops products for NASA and Lucent
    Technologies, among other clients.

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

    Anyone who can update these forums, regarding the development of this technology....please, this is very interesting stuff!
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

300x600 Ad Unit (In-View)

Collapse

Upper 300x250

Collapse

Taboola

Collapse

Leader

Collapse
Working...
X