Futuristic Firefighter Suit Has Sensors, Head-up Display

Futuristic firefighter gear integrates vital-sign sensors and indoor tracking

3 min read
Futuristic Firefighter Suit Has Sensors, Head-up Display
Inferno Intelligence: Globe Manufacturing Co. is training firefighters to use its Wearable Advanced Sensor Platform, which tracks the firefighter’s vital signs and location.
Photo: Globe Manufacturing Co.

In 2012, the U.S. Fire Administration reported that nearly 50 percent of U.S. firefighter deaths were caused by heart attacks. Wearable health-monitoring devices and other personal tech could help prevent some of these attacks, say experts, but for a variety of reasons—technological, economic, and social—they haven’t been adopted. Now might be the time, say several technology suppliers. Like all consumers, firefighters are starting to adopt wearable tech in their personal lives, and that’s paving the way for wearables in their work.

“We’re basically seeing an explosion of wearables, not just in consumer markets but also in our core markets, like public safety,” says Bert Van Der Zaag, senior manager of interaction design at Motorola Solutions, in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

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Deep Learning Could Bring the Concert Experience Home

The century-old quest for truly realistic sound production is finally paying off

12 min read
Image containing multiple aspects such as instruments and left and right open hands.
Stuart Bradford

Now that recorded sound has become ubiquitous, we hardly think about it. From our smartphones, smart speakers, TVs, radios, disc players, and car sound systems, it’s an enduring and enjoyable presence in our lives. In 2017, a survey by the polling firm Nielsen suggested that some 90 percent of the U.S. population listens to music regularly and that, on average, they do so 32 hours per week.

Behind this free-flowing pleasure are enormous industries applying technology to the long-standing goal of reproducing sound with the greatest possible realism. From Edison’s phonograph and the horn speakers of the 1880s, successive generations of engineers in pursuit of this ideal invented and exploited countless technologies: triode vacuum tubes, dynamic loudspeakers, magnetic phonograph cartridges, solid-state amplifier circuits in scores of different topologies, electrostatic speakers, optical discs, stereo, and surround sound. And over the past five decades, digital technologies, like audio compression and streaming, have transformed the music industry.

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