Life-Saving Smart Shoes Track Firefighters

By Alyssa Danigelis

For Discovery

Billowing smoke increases the likelihood that a firefighter will get disoriented but some of the best GPS tech out there won’t survive leaping flames. A new sensor-laden shoe developed by Swedish researchers could provide firefighters with clear paths to safety.

Despite extinguisher-lobbing robots and a way to zap out fires with electrical wands, firefighting remains a very dangerous human endeavor. Investigators piecing together what happened in the chaotic wildfire that killed 19 firefighters in Arizona last summer concluded that fatigue and poor communication were contributing factors.

When other conditions are ideal, smoke and heat can still be too much for GPS technology. That’s where shoes containing a digital positioning system developed at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm could make a difference. The shoe contains a processor, antenna, a wireless communication system and sensors including an accelerometer and gyroscope, according to KTH.

Continue reading.