Evac-Pack: Wearable comms system for responders

Researchers develop a wearable-computing device designed to allow emergency responders to maintain constant contact with rescue coordinators and data sources at emergency control centers.

In a boost for first-responders, researchers at University of California Irvine have announced development of a wearable-computing device designed to allow emergency responders to maintain constant contact with rescue coordinators and data sources at emergency control centers, reports Campus Technology.

The Evac-Pack (more info at this PDF) was created by Irvine researchers Sharad Mehrotra and Chris Davison as part of a National Science Foundation project called ResCUE (Responding to Crises and Unexpected Events).

The device consists of a backpack-transported computer, video camera, a wearable keyboard, and a wireless mouse. An eyeglass-mounted visual display and full-duplex audio microphone and earpiece allow updated real-time situation awareness. A sensor detects levels of dangerous gases present in an environment, and an avionics-designed helmet incorporates a compass, accelerometer, and thermometer to transmit images and data to the control center.

In buildings that are equipped with 802.11, the system can put a floor map into the device's eyepiece eliminating unnecessary room-to-room searches.

The "human-as-sensor" technology helps "get important information to the right people as quickly as possible," said Mehrotra, who noted that in buildings equipped with an 802.11 network layer, the system can "push" a map of each floor into the wearer's eyepiece, eliminating unnecessary room-to-room searches.

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