I just saw an episode of Rescue Me last week where one of the firefighters was trapped, and the rest of the dysfunctional characters didn’t know where he was. Just watch the show on Hulu if you don’t know what I’m talking about.
Perhaps Dennis Leary and his comrades should use the Squad, a compact indoor position system that enables firefighters to know their location, as well as the location of their partners. This concept gadget, designed by a University of New South Wales student Roy Hareguina, uses a sonar sensor to provide a map of the surrounding area, instead of a GPS.
Sonar might not be the ideal tool for this type of work, but firefighters cannot depend on blueprints when ceilings have caved in or when weak floors give out. Sometimes all a fireman needs to know is the location of someone who needs rescuing, and let the axe do the rest.
The Squad units are set up to “take the heat”, having a melting point of 662° Fahrenheit (343°C). It is made of polyetheretheretone (PEEK) with a tough aluminum and zinc frame, and coated with fluorosilicone for impact protection and waterproofing. You may notice that buttons are large, but this is because it is meant to be used by firemen wearing thick gloves.
So far, the Squad is only a concept, but I could easily see firemen of the future wearing one on their arm.