Virtual reality training program to make firefighting safer
Immersive learning solutions provider FLAIM Systems has completed a $6.7 million Series A capital raise, supported by the Victorian Government’s $2 billion investment company Breakthrough Victoria. FLAIM Systems has developed a fully immersive virtual firefighting training system, delivering a safe way to replicate the stress and uncertainty of real-world situations to better prepare the firefighter community to respond to emergencies. The fund was established to drive innovation, solve globally significant problems, deliver financial and social impact and create high value economic jobs in Victoria.
Breakthrough Victoria’s investment will support FLAIM, help expand its operations and further develop its technology, with job creation already commencing and projected to create 25 new high-value jobs by 2026. Breakthrough Victoria Chair the Hon John Brumby AO said firefighters put their lives on the line to keep the community safe, adding that this innovation in virtual reality training will help keep them safe during training and provide the experience they need on the frontline. “We see a real potential for this world-first Victorian technology to be adopted by emergency services agencies around the world,” Brumby said.
Founded by Deakin University in 2019, FLAIM Systems has developed a fully immersive virtual firefighting training system that combines a VR headset with haptic technology, which creates a kinaesthetic ‘feels-real’ experience by applying force feedback to the user. This includes simulating an operational fire hose and a thermal vest that reproduces the heat firefighters experience in different scenarios from the direction of the fire.
The FLAIM Trainer tracks performance data in real time against training outcomes. This includes task completion time, air and water usage, stress levels, where the trainee is moving and looking within the scenario, and how they position themselves and interact with virtual objects in the scenario such as gas meters, electrical boxes, or the fire itself. As FLAIM training is virtual, there is no carcinogen exposure to the firefighter or instructor, and 2000 hours of annual training in one system saves the equivalent of 20 million litres of water and 27 tonnes of carbon emissions.
FLAIM Systems has developed 80 different virtual reality (VR) training scenarios that allow firefighters to train across different situations with no risk to their health or the environment. The company has worked with over 300 emergency services agencies, defence and higher education organisations and private enterprise in 45 countries, to scale the opportunities available in Australia, the UK and the USA.
The proceeds of the $6.7 million capital raise will go towards development of FLAIM Systems’ technology stack, focusing on building an in-house learning development platform, strengthening its team across executive, technical, sales, marketing and customer experience roles, and working capital to support scale-up and fund a shift from capital sales to subscription sales.
“This investment will provide FLAIM with the foundations for global expansion as we focus on addressing opportunities to provide safer, smarter, deeper learning solutions to high-risk and emergency situation training programs in the US and UK as well as Australia. We see significant scope to commercialise FLAIM’s innovative Australian technology as we seek to protect the lives of those who respond to hazardous fire, safety, rescue and emergency situations,” said Simon Miller, CEO of FLAIM Systems.
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