Computational creativity and the future of AI

Firefighting

The Firefighting Robot is designed to create 3D virtual reality maps of the interiors of b...

“Quick, send in the robots!” Far-fetched as it may sound, fire-fighting robots are indeed coming closer and closer to common use. While some of them are intended to actually put out the flames, others are designed more to scout out structures before human firefighters enter, letting those people know how to safely get around and where to concentrate their efforts. One of the latest machines in the second category is the self-balancing Firefighting Robot (FFR), being developed at the University of California, San Diego.  Read More

A firefighting helmet that incorporates ultrasound and vibrational forehead pads could hel...

Firefighters can quite often find themselves in smoke-filled rooms, where it’s impossible to see more than a few inches in any direction. Not wanting those firefighters to run into walls, researchers at the University of Sheffield have created a prototype helmet that vibrates against the wearer’s forehead, letting them know the location of nearby obstacles.  Read More

A prototype of the reconnaissance ball

First responders such as firefighters or police officers are often faced with a difficult situation – they need to get into a building as fast as possible, yet it’s unsafe for them to just blindly run in without knowing what hazards await them. Some groups are attempting to address this problem by designing reconnaissance robots, although such devices can be expensive and/or complex. Boston-based Bounce Imaging, however, is putting the finishing touches on something a little more simple to use – a throwable smart ball.  Read More

The Twizy fire prototype will be tested in and around Paris

When Renault showed the two-seat Twizy electric city car at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, we never expected to see it haul firefighters – meter maids, maybe, but not firefighters. The vehicle is about as far from a fire truck as you can get while still discussing motorized vehicles. That hasn't stopped the French company from outfitting its diminutive electric car for the purpose of firefighting.  Read More

The RS1-T2 Thermite firefighting robot

Howe and Howe Technologies of Waterboro, Maine, has unveiled the firefighter of tomorrow called the Thermite RS1-T2. Based on technology developed for the U.S. Army, this squat little modular robot on tank treads is a small, powerful fire fighting machine that provides crews with a means for remote reconnaissance and fighting fires in hazardous areas safely.  Read More

Originally called the Active Alarm, the Fire Avert is a fire safety device

The smoke alarm is a standard part of home safety equipment. But what if you step out and aren't there to hear it going off? The Fire Avert steps in where the smoke alarm leaves off, helping to prevent kitchen fires.  Read More

The HeatSeeker is a cooling mister that replaces the existing hose port cap on a fire truc...

Firefighters face many dangers, including burns, smoke inhalation and structure collapses. Because they're required to wear all that heavy gear while performing strenuous activities, however, they also risk heat stroke. That’s why firefighter Michael Robinson invented the HeatSeeker – a device that attaches to a fire truck’s existing hose port, creating a cooling mist.  Read More

SAFFiR, the Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot, is being developed to help put out fi...

If there's one thing that you don't want happening on board a ship, it's a fire. People on board burning ships can't simply run out onto the streets, as they hopefully could in the case of a structural fire, plus many people caught belowdecks don't have windows nearby to climb out of. Then, there's also the fact that crew members fighting such fires have to work in narrow, claustrophobic passageways, instead of wide-open roads. Given that fires are particularly possible on military ships, due to attacks by enemy forces, America's Naval Research Laboratory is now developing a special something to help fight fires at sea - it's called SAFFiR, the Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot.  Read More

Scientists have developed a vortex gun that delivers electrically-charged rings of gas, an...

While something called a “vortex gun” might sound like a device from science fiction, the fact is that they have been available as novelties for years – if you’ve ever used a toy gun that shot out a smoke ring, then you’ve used a vortex gun. Lately, however, scientists from the Ohio-based Battelle R & D group have developed one that could have practical uses for people such as firefighters, exterminators and riot cops.  Read More

The WISPER routers (top left), the WISPER dispenser (middle) and base station modules (bot...

Even though firefighting is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, firefighters still communicate using analog radio signals, that can be blocked by concrete walls. This means that, upon venturing into a burning building, a firefighter might have no way of letting their commander know their present location – a situation that could prove deadly, if they ended up trapped or injured. In order to address the situation, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate has created a new three-part system that lets fire crews keep track of the location and well-being of every member of their team, all the time.  Read More

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