Simulator provides safe training for firefighters

Wednesday, 06 September, 2017

Simulator provides safe training for firefighters

A virtual reality firefighting simulator has been launched by Deakin University for emergency service training.

The FlAim Trainer uses an immersive virtual reality environment combined with a haptics feedback system, breathing apparatus and heated personal protective clothing.

The system has proven to be a safe, low-cost and mobile solution that can simulate a range of fire events and conditions, allowing firefighters to train more effectively.

FLAIM Systems is a Geelong-based start-up aimed at commercialising the groundbreaking research from Deakin’s Institute for Intelligent Systems Research and Innovation (IISRI).

Associate Professor James Mullins, who has taken on the role of FLAIM Systems chief technology officer, said the launch was an important step in translating Deakin University research into real-world products with life-saving applications.

“Beginning with the FlAim Trainer, FLAIM Systems will look to apply Deakin University research in delivering solutions for emergency services and first responders around the world,” Mullins said.

“FlAim trainer and subsequent commercial-ready solutions from IISRI have the capacity to be used in fire departments, training schools and other training providers — the global market for these services is potentially worth more than $3 billion.”

IISRI Director Professor Saeid Nahavandi said the institute’s researchers were world leaders in haptic (force feedback) technology, which provides a more accurate simulation and ensures firefighters are thoroughly prepared to face the real thing.

“The haptic feedback in FlAim Trainer is represented through the ‘kick back’ of water pressure, which, combined with the virtual reality solution, allows trainees to use the system in any location,” Nahavandi said.

FLAIM Systems will maintain a research and development relationship with IISRI to support ongoing development of solutions for the emergency services sector, serving as a commercialisation channel for IISRI research.

The new FLAIM Systems venture will be on full display this week at the AFAC Fire and Emergency Management Conference 2017 in Sydney, from 4–7 September.

Image courtesy of Deakin University.

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