Virtual reality brings new tool to firefighting

By Jim Drury

For Reuters

A head-mounted virtual reality system to be worn by fire-fighters could revolutionise fire safety, according to its developers at the Vienna University of Technology. The prototype ProFiTex system is designed to provide first-responders with an unprecedented view into the layout and temperature of burning buildings, giving them a better chance of saving lives.

Its creators say this prototype helmet could revolutionise fire-fighting and help save the lives of people trapped inside burning buildings. Part of the ProFiTex system, it was designed by a team at the Vienna University of Technology, to help fire-fighters penetrate thick, blinding smoke. Infrared sensors on the helmet project real-time, colour-coded surface temperatures onto a head-mounted display, allowing first-responders to judge whether a room is safe to enter. The outline of people trapped inside would also appear on-screen via thermal imagery technology.

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