University Professor Making Firefighting Gloves “Smart”

MINNEAPOLIS, MN— A University of Minnesota assistant professor, Lucy Dunne, is working to come up with a way firefighters can find their way around a smoke-filled environment without having to touch anything with their gloves.

Dunne put a sensor in a standard-issue firefighter glove, and has been testing it in the lab. The way it works is a firefighter would point the glove at an object and it vibrates. It vibrates harder when it’s closer to an object, softer when it’s farther away. Recently, Dunne brought the glove to Minneapolis (MN) Fire Department firefighters to test.

Staff Captain Stephanie Johnson tested the glove and provided feedback. Included in her recommendations is that the sensor and vibration need to be more responsive if a firefighter is performing a search rapidly. Dunne will take the firefighter feedback as well as her observations of how the firefighter moved ruing a search evolution back to the lab. Currently the technology in the glove can’t distinguish between humans, and say, a couch.

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