Tue. Oct 15th, 2019

IBM contest winners reply name by creating lifesaving tech for firefighters


Nobody doubts that firefighters have an extremely powerful job. When your occupation explicitly requires you to enter locations everybody else is desperately making an attempt to flee, you already know you’re performing a service few individuals could be able to. However might know-how assist make firefighters’ jobs a bit much less harmful? That’s the hope of Prometeo, a Spanish staff that has received IBM’s Name for Code 2019 competitors.

The competition, which acquired 5,000 entries from 165 nations, goals to create and deploy open-source applied sciences to sort out a few of humanity’s greatest challenges. “[Call for Code is] an ideal steadiness between know-how and serving to others,” Josep Ràfols, staff captain of Prometeo, advised Digital Traits. The staff was introduced as the competition winners at a particular occasion in New York Metropolis on Saturday, October 12.

The Prometeo device mounted to a firefighter's arm

Prometeo has developed an A.I.-based platform that’s in a position to monitor firefighter well being and security in actual time. It does this utilizing a wearable machine, concerning the measurement of an iPhone, which gathers environmental information concerning the situations firefighters are experiencing. This may then be used to create individualized methods or present notifications about firefighters’ cumulative publicity to smoke and poisonous substances as they work.

“It’s unbelievable if I inform you that, at present, there isn’t any such program that may report and monitor the well being of firefighters,” Ràfols stated. “What we tried to do was to make use of a mix of sensors, machine studying, and fundamental IT to file all of the issues which are taking place with a firefighter when they’re coping with a fireplace.”

Monitoring the well being of firefighters

Ràfols is one in every of 5 members of the Prometeo staff, which additionally consists of two different pc scientists, a 33-year veteran firefighter, and an emergency companies nurse with a Ph.D. in toxicology.

With our product, you might resolve which firefighters to ship into a fireplace primarily based on how a lot they’ve been uncovered to [noxious gases].

As Ràfols is fast to acknowledge, the part of the Prometeo mission is pretty fundamental. “It’s one thing you should buy simply on Amazon or eBay,” he stated. “It’s a really low-cost microcontroller, costing about $10 — or much less in the event you have been to bulk purchase. We then connect some sensors for [things like] temperature, humidity, and smoke focus.”

Like quite a lot of Web of Issues (IoT) linked gadgets, the magic is what occurs on the software program facet. The sensor information is transmitted through Wi-Fi to the IBM cloud IoT platform. It’s then run by way of an IBM Watson-based machine studying mode, which turns this uncooked data right into a easy visitors light-style color-coded system.

Prometeo’s dashboard offers totally different colours for the firefighters it screens: Inexperienced to point firefighters’ well being is OK, or yellow or pink to sign that motion should be taken to rescue or take away them from a fireplace. “They are going to be extra conscious of their limits,” Ràfols stated.

Prometeo Firefighter's Health app

The know-how will also be used to take a longer-term view. Prometeo’s system implies that firefighters — and people accountable for deploying them — can view historic information as effectively. This may very well be used to observe well being and publicity over time.

“The know-how can be there to research, long-term, the well being of firefighters,” Ràfols stated. “With our product, you might resolve which firefighters to ship into a fireplace primarily based on how a lot they’ve been uncovered to [noxious gases].”

Transferring ahead, saving lives

The mission remains to be within the early levels. Having picked up their massive Name for Code win, the staff will subsequent perform subject exams utilizing firefighters within the Catalonia area of Spain. It will present much-needed information. A few of this can be utilized for creating higher predictive fashions to assist make the know-how work higher. It should additionally give worthwhile suggestions that can be utilized for honing the following era of machine prototypes.

Prometeo being attached to a firefighter's arm

“Proper now, the [devices] we’re utilizing are very handmade,” Ràfols stated. “We’d like them extra resistant in order that they can be utilized by firefighters [in real situations]. We need to make higher casing.”

He defined that the staff additionally hopes to broaden the performance of the gadgets to measure for extra gases. Additionally they hope so as to add different options similar to GPS for location consciousness, focus of oxygen within the blood, and coronary heart price. As a part of Prometeo’s award, it is going to obtain open-source help from IBM and the Linux Basis. Open-sourcing the mission will make it potential for researchers from all all over the world to contribute their insights.

In the end, it’s not clear when (and even whether or not) Prometeo will commercialize its product. Nonetheless, the $200,000 money prize for profitable the 2019 Name for Code competitors, together with the conferences with mentors and potential traders it is going to arrange, makes the prospect extra seemingly.

One factor’s for sure: With wildfires on the rise, that is precisely the type of know-how that would make an enormous distinction. Between this, drones for predicting the place fires will unfold, and robots that assist help hearth companies, we may very well be getting into a complete new world of firefighting know-how. And that’s most positively a very good factor for everybody.

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