Wearables

Edge-finding thermal HUD gives firefighters vision through heavy smoke

Edge-finding thermal HUD gives...
The Cthru mask has a thermal vision camera on the outside and a small HUD over the right eye
The Cthru mask has a thermal vision camera on the outside and a small HUD over the right eye
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The system appeared to impress California firefighters in testing
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The system appeared to impress California firefighters in testing
An AI algorithm takes thermal vision and runs live edge detection on it to produce a useful feed into the right eye
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An AI algorithm takes thermal vision and runs live edge detection on it to produce a useful feed into the right eye
The Cthru mask has a thermal vision camera on the outside and a small HUD over the right eye
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The Cthru mask has a thermal vision camera on the outside and a small HUD over the right eye
Giving firefighters hands-free enhanced vision in dark and smoky environments
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Giving firefighters hands-free enhanced vision in dark and smoky environments
View gallery - 4 images

Firefighting teams tend to carry hand-held devices to help them see in harsh, smoky conditions, but an American company has built edge-detecting thermal vision into a single eye heads-up display inside the breathing mask for hands-free use.

Qwake's C-Thru mask places a small, transparent glass HUD over one eye within the breathing apparatus. Onto this it projects a live feed of vision taken from a thermal camera on the outside of the mask, which has been run through an edge-detecting, shape=predicting AI algorithm. To the firefighter, it looks like the edges between different materials, which have different thermal conductivity, are outlined in green.

The tech offers what appears to be a highly useful overlay of visibility, even when a room is dark and full of smoke. When tested by the Cosumnes Fire Department in California in a live fire drill, firefighters wearing the C-Thru rig commented that not only could they see the "victims" they were going in searching for, but the level of detail was surprising.

An AI algorithm takes thermal vision and runs live edge detection on it to produce a useful feed into the right eye
An AI algorithm takes thermal vision and runs live edge detection on it to produce a useful feed into the right eye

The system appears still to be in prototype stage, although the prototypes are clearly fairly advanced. One to keep an eye on, for sure, although it remains to be seen how much cash firefighting departments have to splash on next-gen technologies like this. Check out a video below.

Ironman for Firefighters // C-THRU

Source: Qwake Technologies

View gallery - 4 images
1 comment
f8lee
Interestingly, it seems that Verizon (I think) has been using this system in their advertising for 5G in the past few weeks - an engineer in voiceover talking about how firefighters will be able to see through the smoke while the visuals look like these.