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Engineer Wanting To Help

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  • #16
    Not so sure about robotics but I have a couple of ideas....

    Like Bou said, make or invent a user friendly seat belt. We have to put on our SCBA's while enroute to a call. This makes wearing a seatbelt very difficult. Most firefigthers don't wear their seat belt because it gets tangled up in the straps of the SCBA. I have either not put the SCBA on until I arrive or put it on enroute, and hope that I did not cross the seatbelt with the bottom SCBA strap, or just not hook up the bottom SCBA strap until I get out of the truck.

    I am a firm believer in seatbelts. It is hard to convince a truck load of firefighters to wear them because of a not so user friendly design. Half of the deaths have occured either to or from a call while in the truck.

    How about improve on the existing SCBA designs. I can't believe that they are perfect and cannot be improved upon.

    Improve on thermal imaging cameras and technology. Make them smaller, lighter, and clearer. Make the new and improved gas detector. Maybe even strap a hose to a robot with a TIC and see what kind of fire they can put out. That could come in handy at fuel spill fires or large warehouses/factories where the there is a great amount of heat coming from the fire. Something like a robotic fire attack or something.

    Use your knowledge to improve communications. One of the biggest headaches is when your radio doesn't work due to the battery dying, you can't reach the repeater or just can't get out of the building with all the steel and concrete. If you invent the longer lasting radio battery, you would make millions.

    Lighter, stronger tools, fittings that don't leak and that go together and come apart easier, turn out gear with internal cooling, helmets that are more comfortable, boots that won't leak, hose that will pick itself up!

    That should be enough to overwhelm you....
    Jason Knecht
    Township Fire Dept., Inc.
    Eau Claire, WI

    IACOJ - Director of Cheese and Whine


    • #17
      How about:

      -adding some sort of lighted strand into hoseline without adding any additional size and/or weight.

      -some sort of integrated monitor that keeps tabs on your heart/pulse/resp while involved in fighting fires.

      -a super tough chain saw "blade" that never dulls, chips, or loses any teeth.

      the key is to come up with something that is lightweight, cheap, and tough enough to be run over by a truck without skipping a beat.


      • #18
        How about a SCBA mask that allows one to monitor their breathing rate, heart rate, Pulse Ox. and amount of air left along with a thermal imager that you can switch one and off. That way, you dont have to tie up your hands with a bunch of equipment.

        Some might be say... well that would be a big mask. But think of the new Scott SCBA regulators where they have the red, yellow, and green to show you how much air you have left. If you enlarged the size of the regulator exterior, you could fit those numbers into it. The only problem would be turning your Mask into a thermal imager.
        The Box. You opened it. We Came...

        "You'll take my life but I'll take your's too. You'll fire musket but I'll run you through. So when your waiting for the next attack, you'll better understand there's no turn back."


        • #19
          You are all thinking after the fire has started.

          How about better building materials that prevent fires?
          Better/smaller/less expensive/easier to retrofit sprinkler systems to prevent the fires from growing?
          How about better alarming systems to notify of a fire before we need all these other gizmo's?

          Work on ways to prevent the fires and the gizmo's for fighting them won't need to be so difficult.

          and I know, not all fires can be prevented, but a vast majority could be taken care of with better prevention.
          "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?


          • #20
            Originally posted by Bones42
            and I know, not all fires can be prevented, but a vast majority could be taken care of with better prevention.
            AMEN. There are many, many products out there but you need the people to buy them and use them properly. Case in point -- smoke detectors. Cheapest thing out there and yet people still die each year because they took the batteries out or they just don't have one at all.
            "When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. My hope is to leave the world a little better for my having been there."
            -- Jim Henson (1936 - 1990)


            • #21
              How about making the SCBA straps the seatbelt? Make some sort of a bracket that will detach the SCBA from the seat but will be strong enough for a restraint system.


              • #22
                It's been mentioned before in other threads, but I'll pass along my idea. A lot of people have mentioned it on here too.

                We do have a big problem with firefighters not wearing seat belts. In most places the airpacks that we wear are recessed (sp?) into the seat but easily detach with either a release mechanism activated by pulling a string or a simply clasp that you just pull the pack out of. Neither of these are strong enough to keep the pack in place and the firefighter at the same time. If someone were to devise a restraint system that integrated the pack into the seat that would be a great step forward.

                (Just noticed that ffexpCP pretty much said the same thing, sorry)

                Also a pressure system that detects when a seat is occupied and the seatbelt is not being used. It would alert the driver and/or officer that a firefighter is in a seat but not buckled in.
                Fir Na Tine
                Fir Na Au Saol


                • #23
                  Get rich quick.........

                  If you wanna "get rich quick" then design a communications system that is reliable everywhere........ in buildings, outside, underground, etc.
                  I have never understood how we can talk to and send signals to Mars or whatever planet we want to, but I can't key up the mic. and now that I am going to get out.
                  I have even asked some folks from NASA and they have yet to be able to give me an answer.
                  Come up with this system and you could market it to the Fire Service, 5-0, Trashman, Construction, Subway Operators. Do you see where I am goin' with this?
                  "Be LOUD, Be PROUD..... It just might save your can someday when goin' through an intersection!!!!!"

                  Life on the Truck (Quint) is good.....

                  Eat til you're sleepy..... Sleep til you're hungry..... And repeat.....


                  • #24
                    Who knew?


                    Fighting fire with robots
                    In the new robotics, smaller can be better.

                    By Tom Avril
                    Inquirer Staff Writer

                    A firefighter in a blazing building becomes disoriented, his eyes stinging and his throat burning from acrid smoke.

                    Fortunately, four helpers are on the scene to radio for assistance, having pinpointed the location of their fallen comrade on a real-time electronic map.

                    For the helpers, smoke is no deterrent. They are robots.

                    The boxy, three-wheeled machines are likely a few years away from being used in real fires, but they performed flawlessly last week in a simulation at a University of Pennsylvania robotics conference.

                    They represent one of several dramatic recent advances in the world of automation: rather than solve a problem with one big machine, send out a swarm of smaller, networked robots that share information and operate as a team, borrowing principles from ants or other efficient members of the animal kingdom.

                    "You distribute the task among many, many guys," said Vijay Kumar, chair of Penn's mechanical engineering department.

                    Five years ago, engineers had trouble coordinating the efforts of two or three robots, said George Bekey, a University of Southern California robotics pioneer who attended the conference.

                    With today's sophisticated algorithms, they can manage dozens.

                    "The human should not get involved with the details," said Penn professor George Pappas, one of the conference organizers. Instead, "issue high-level instructions to the team."

                    The research into networked machines is of keen interest to the military, which already uses individual robots to scope potentially hostile environments. Other possible applications include search and rescue, environmental monitoring, and the assembly of astronaut quarters in space.

                    The word robots may conjure images of imitation human beings, like C-3PO of Star Wars fame. And some researchers are indeed making strides with such machines, especially in Japan.

                    But at the conference last week, the machines on display were designed for applications in which looking like a person is hardly a plus. Engineers from around the world admired sand-digging robots, flying robots, and six-legged robots that scampered like cockroaches.

                    Cheaper components and advances in computing power have helped double the amount of robotics research worldwide in the last three years, Bekey said. But he warned that U.S. funding had not kept pace.

                    In a 289-page government-funded report this year, Bekey and other authors found that Japan, South Korea, and the European Union all outspend this country on research and development of robots.

                    In the late 1980s, the United States lost its dominance in industrial robots - used for such tasks as welding, painting and assembly, according to the report.

                    "We are in danger of losing our leading position in other aspects of robotics as well," Bekey wrote.

                    Still, the networked firefighter-helpers at the conference represented a level of sophistication that could only be imagined a few years ago.

                    The machines were developed by scientists at Penn, Carnegie Mellon University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

                    Graduate students designated one robot the "firefighter" while four helpers roamed about the laboratory, programmed to space themselves in much the same way a wolf pack surrounds its prey.

                    They constantly "pinged" the firefighter with a combination of radio waves and ultrasound, sharing information to maintain a record of its location at all times.

                    The helpers calculated distance by measuring how much time it took for their emitted waves to bounce back.

                    For the robots to keep track of a human firefighter, the necessary electronics would need to be attached to the person's uniform, Penn's Kumar said.

                    Information on the firefighter's location could be transmitted to officials outside the building and to the firefighter himself, perhaps onto a helmet-mounted display.

                    The robots cost $1,500 each to make, but the price would come down if they were mass-produced.

                    When told of the research, several fire officials expressed interest. Firefighter disorientation frequently leads to death, according to a 2003 study by a captain in the San Antonio Fire Department.

                    Besides mapping locations, the robots could be used to measure temperature - an idea that intrigues David Daniels, chair of the Safety, Health and Survival Section of the International Association of Fire Chiefs.

                    "A lot of that kind of analysis is done right now by human beings, and it's very, very shaky," said Daniels, chief of the Renton, Wash., fire department.

                    But he wondered whether the addition of roaming robots to a burning building would prove too chaotic.

                    Kumar said the machines would not get in the way, thanks to laser sensors that enable them to avoid collisions. Still other robots might be mounted on the walls in modern buildings.

                    Though not convinced, Daniels said he saw a future for firefighting robots in one way or another. If an abandoned building is on fire, for example, water-squirting robots would be a natural fit, he said.

                    "If there aren't people to be saved," he said, "why are we putting human beings at risk?"

                    No ordinary robot, it sure can move. See video of a six-legged, cockroach- inspired robot via go.philly.com/robot

                    --------------------------------------------------------------------------Contact staff writer Tom Avril at 215-854-2430 or [email protected].
                    "When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. My hope is to leave the world a little better for my having been there."
                    -- Jim Henson (1936 - 1990)


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by REVANANT
                      How about a way to pick up large and repack large amounts of LDH quickly and safely without taking up a large amount of space or involving too much heavy lifting.


                      I second that.
                      FF I
                      FF II
                      Hazmat Operations

                      The light at the end of the tunnel has been temporarly shut off due to the current work load. The Mangement

                      When all else fails USE DUCT-TAPE!!!

                      My views posted in this fourm are my personal views only and do not reflect on any agencies that I am afiliated with.


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