We’ve seen a few devices designed to give firefighters an idea of the interior layout of a burning building, including the SmokeBot. But once they’re inside, smoke may prevent first responders from being able to see where they’re going. The Haptic Helmet from Carnegie Mellon University’s Engineering department could help.
A research team led by Yang Cai at the university’s CyLab installed some haptic actuators inside a standard firefighter’s helmet. When wearers get buzzed to the left, they look or move to the left. Or right when an actuator buzzes right, forward for a front buzz and back or stop for a buzz to the helmet’s rear.
The team’s prototype is controlled wirelessly using a RF remote which means that firefighters could be guided by operators in a mobile control unit using data supplied by bots, drones or other survey devices.