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North Carolina Firefighter Aims to Change Firefighting with Google Glass, Heads-Up Display

Patrick Jackson, a firefighter from Rocky Mount, North Carolina is hoping that Google’s Glass product can one day change the way firefighters operate. Also a software engineer, Jackson is using Google Glass to route incoming calls (including addresses, maps, dispatch notes and navigation) into the device – as well as a fire hydrant locator. But he doesn’t plan to stop there, working on integration of building floor plans and safety information plus vehicle schematics for rescues.

TheVerge.com did a story this week about Jackson’s approach and it’s getting quite a bit of attention. His submission to a recent Google competition entitled #IfIHadGlass listed the benefits he sees if firefighters could use Google Glass in integrated methods:

As a career Firefighter, and a software engineer, I would use it to make firefighter’s job safer and more effective. Mission critical information could be viewed quickly while never taking eyes off of the incident. Pictures and video could be recorded to add in fire investigation and incident critics. Personnel could stream realtime video to hangouts for an overview of the incident — view multiple sides from one location. Occupancy hazards could be in your view instantly instead of flipping through notebooks. Increased situational awareness!

Example heads-up display in Google Glass for vehicle rescue ops
Example heads-up display in Google Glass for vehicle rescue ops
Example heads-up display in Google Glass for navigating interior search, rescue and firefighting
Example heads-up display in Google Glass for navigating interior search, rescue and firefighting

His ideas could really be something that isn’t far-fetched in the future as the fire service continues to look at how technology can improve response and firefighter safety. Heads-up displays in vehicles, in SCBA masks and regular “glasses” like Google is putting out there could revolutionize quite a few things. Imagine thermal imaging built into your SCBA mask or immediate hazards/tips for dealing with certain types vehicles showing up in your glasses or in the rig as you pull up to the scene.

What do you think? How could Google Glass or other integrated heads-up display technologies improve emergency service response and firefighting? Comment below.

Patrick Jackson
Patrick Jackson

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