Fighting a fire is definitely no easy task, and kudos to the heroes of the Californian fire for doing a great job in keeping damage and casualties to the minimum in their attempt to save both lives and belongings. It goes without saying that the battle gear of any firefighter is an important element, and the I-Garment project aims to address this issue by developing a full bodied “smart suit” that brings together protective materials along with a suite of sensors that monitor position as well as vital signals, transferring such information wirelessly back to the base.
The I-Garment fire suit is designed for firefighters as well as other personnel who are involved in civil protection. It is developed by yDreams for the European Space Agency (ESA) and comes in handy especially in situations where lack of communication could prove fatal whenever one is responding to fires, floods, car accidents, and other disasters. It is made from the most updated materials that are currently available, providing proper protection in hazardous situations, with special emphasis on user comfort and mobility. Inside each suit you will find an array of sensors, telecommunication, localization, alert and processing hardware that work hand in hand to collect the status and position of the firefighter, while transmitting it wirelessly in real time to a data collecting computer installed in vehicles located in the field.
Sounds more and more like a video game as the information collected from technology in the suits are made available to Civil Protection Officers at headquarters, where they will process such information and returning further instruction to field officers who are equipped with devices like PDAs and/or TabletPCs. This project is currently being developed for the Portuguese Civil Protection since the prototyping stage is already complete. I wonder how many other nations will take up this suit in their Civil Protection program.