Edge-finding thermal HUD gives firefighters vision through heavy smoke
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.
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.
Source: Qwake Technologies