Tanagram has developed a concept for improved HUD systems for fire fighters. It’s the best concept video for a real life professional use case in a long time, I wanted to share with you today:
The video is titled “The future of firefighting – A HMD-AR UI concept for first responders” and uses HMD setups for firefighters to display additional information and allow for natural and quick interaction to have needed information accessible as fast as possible. It sure reminds us of other concepts and movies, but brings it together to a great scenario, that looks pretty damn feasible and useful:
In detail they describe the concept being developed for the Department of Homeland Security to explore “methods to help our firefighters leverage information displays to help them stay alive and help others”. “Tanagram, under a grant provided by the Department of Homeland Security developed a phase zero Self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) enhancement that leverages HMD / AR technology to display critical factors all-the-while not obscuring the firefighter’s field of view.”
They underline that it is only a first concept and more work will go into it to refine the interface, making it faster and safer to use for the firefighter. But already today you can imagine how AR can help out in scenarios, where additional information can make the difference among life and death and a split second is all it takes. The hardware and tracking development may not there yet, but it once more shows the potential of AR.
I guess it’s gonna be pretty tricky and take lots of research to have all the material fireproof for this extreme environment and to have a 100% reliability of the system (or to have an easy way out, i.e. not that due to a crash a blanked screen blocks the vision). I wonder, how much data access the firefighter really needs during a mission: it feels like a lot of information already, giving him the possibility to browse through the directory of partner views or mission maps. The fastest way – for such a extreme environment at least – seems to be having a mission commander, that coordinates and gives audio commands. Can’t wait to see more prototypes of this and even get some more feedback from user tests one day, exploring this balance and especially the way of presenting the data in a lean way to help the most.
Maybe they team up with these guys of close combat training to test their HMD setups in training scenarios. :-)