Firefighters have a tough job. They risk their lives to save the lives of others. Often they might find themselves in a smoke filled room where visibility is quite bad. This could seriously hamper their relief efforts, while putting their life at risk as well. A group of researchers at the University of Sheffield have come up with an interesting prototype helmet. This helmet vibrates against the forehead of the person wearing it, this vibration is an indication of objects and obstacles nearby.
The team fitted a standard Rosenbauer firefighting helmet with vibrational pads and ultrasound sensors. The helmet sends out pulses of ultrasound and analyzes the echos to determine the proximity of objects. It responds by activating the vibrational pads facing the object, thus giving a tactile directional alert to the wearer. The concept is pretty intelligent, particularly the usage of vibrational pads to let the firefighter know of objects nearby. Any other method might not be as effective, as firefighters generally don’t have their hands free to operate equipment other than that required for their relief efforts. It can also be further developed to help visually impaired people, the possibilities are endless.