1. #1
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    Question Engineer Wanting To Help

    Hello,
    I am not a firefighter, however I am an engineer. I am considering research options and would like to hear from you guys. My specialization is in robotics. I would like to develop a device that would be helpful to firefighters and related personnel. I am looking to improve any procedure that costs you too much time to do manually or any activity that is too dangerous. Or even if you feel something that you use is ineffective and should be improved upon or augmented. I am looking to develop a solution that will be both low cost by design and easily repairable in the field.

    For example, in a letter from Vincent Dunn (former deputy chief of FDNY) to Tom RIdge he states:
    "5. The fire service needs robots for firefighting. One such robot would be used to attack fires in superheated atmospheres and in haz-mat burning incidents. Clamp a nozzle on the robot, start water and let it enter the flame and heat of an inaccessible burning structure. ... I have never seen a robot demonstrated in American fire department. The fire service needs this tool for fighting terrorism fires." - http://vincentdunn.com/ridge.html

    So if you ever said "Why doesn't someone make a __________?", I may be that someone.

    Thanks for your time

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    Bump....Thanks for the offer. The place is full of us that like to complain and need something to work or function better.

    Can you fixed this website? Sometimes it wont let you start a new thread. Or have you heard of Mini-Me. Someone needs to tune-up that little weasel.

    Seriously- maybe you can focus somewhere in the area of seat belts. Firefighters (including myself) dont always wear them.

    Or....I got it. Hydraulic tool lines that do not leak. My Hurst tools leak all over the place. I know Halmatro has some newer type of lines out. That would be nice if someone could fix those.

    Or maybe go work at Interspiro SCBA corp. Their junk is broken all of the time and could use someone, anyone there.

    Or maybe introduce carbon fiber tools to the fire service. Make them stronger. Or bio-gradable wildland fire hose. So when it blows on me in the summer and I leave it behind, its Mother Earth friendly. I dont know.

    Or re-work the front of American LaChance's trucks. They are ugly as sin.

    Anyone else?
    Last edited by CALFFBOU; 08-18-2006 at 02:56 AM.

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    How about a way to pick up large and repack large amounts of LDH quickly and safely without taking up a large amount of space or involving too much heavy lifting.

    Larry

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    "Or maybe introduce carbon fiber tools to the fire service. Make them stronger. Or bio-gradable wildland fire hose. So when it blows on me in the summer and I leave it behind, its Mother Earth friendly. I dont know."
    Good idea, ill forward it to my material science colleagues.

    As for the HDL, what makes it heavy? The actual weight of the hose or the fact the the hose has water left in it.

    How about a heavy duty "mule" robot that can carry/pull things and that is modular so you can add tools and functions to it? For example, you could attach an end of a hose to it and it would pull it off the truck.

    Keep your ideas coming.

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    We already have mules, they are called probies.
    Do not equate money with success. There are many successful moneymakers who are miserable failures as human beings.
    What counts most about success is how a person achieves it.


    Nordy

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    Speaking of "the mule", I think Pierce came out with a hose bed the lowers itself to the crew level for LDH re-packing.

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    Ok, lets try this.
    What manual task takes you the most time to complete?
    What task is most dangerous to you?

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    Quote Originally Posted by shoeBlade
    Ok, lets try this.
    What manual task takes you the most time to complete?
    What task is most dangerous to you?
    Meetings.
    Responding lights and sirens.

    If you could invent a machine to eliminate meetings, I would pay you lots of money!

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    Quote Originally Posted by shoeBlade
    Ok, lets try this.
    What manual task takes you the most time to complete?
    What task is most dangerous to you?
    Fundraising and grant writing?

    Robo that grills/serves hotdogs, empties trashcans, and swats flies at the same time.

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    shoeBlade-

    Sir- I was eating my gourmet burrito today seriously thinking about your offer. I have an idea for you thats a serious issue with most of our nation's Firefighters and I am pretty sure no one is addressing it right now.

    The problem- During wildland fires, the fire engine's (type 1,2,3) motors are usually left running and pumping water while parked. (a typical operation) While this is happening, the environment contents include flying embers and smoke pushed by gusting winds from 20-60 mph. Both of which get sucked in the truck's air filter/intake. Because of this, the plastic intake catches fire, then the motor, engine compartment and the the entire rig. And then it becomes a safety problem because the Firefighters can not leave a dangerous scene or take refuge in the truck.

    If you really want to make/invent/engineer something that most of the fire service can use, please consider an add-on/retofit device that would some how prevent this from happening.

    No need for robots or flying nozzles, this is a real problem that someone realy needs to jump on and make a difference.

    And if you get rich off of it, DO NOT forget brother Bou. Because it was his idea. Please email me or PM if you want to discuss this furthur.
    Last edited by CALFFBOU; 08-18-2006 at 07:42 PM.

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    Did a little research and it appears such a system has been developed
    "The simulator evaluation resulted in the development and implementation of
    a vehicle crew protection system that consists of:
    Water sprays;
    Radiant heat curtains;
    Metal protection panels; and
    Engine metal air intake pre-cleaners." - http://www.iawfonline.org/summit/200...%20et%20al.pdf
    Looks like it was developed sometime last year

    Just as a note, If you post any idea it then becomes "prior art" and is therefore un-patentable by me or anyone else in the future. I don't have a monetary motivation, just want to do research to help those who risk their lives. Furthermore you will receive proper credit in my research and in any publications.

    Hopefully this thread goes further so I can collect ideas and decide which one I can do most effectively and has the most benefit. I really appreciate the ideas so far.

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    One note,
    I did not pay for a membership so I cant PM anyone or edit my posts.
    You can reach me at my user name @gmail.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by shoeBlade
    One note,
    I did not pay for a membership so I cant PM anyone or edit my posts.
    You can reach me at my user name @gmail.com
    I'm a free user and I can PM & edit posts. However, you are still showing up as a guest. I'm guessing that once your ticket is punched by the WebTeam as a "real member," you'll have access to those features.

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    Im reading through the homeland security report on firefighter fatalities (http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/downloads/pd...fa-306-508.pdf) And have some questions. Most were unpreventable involving heart attacks or stress (62 of 115 deaths - 53%) and crashes (25 of 115 deaths - 22%) mostly, but the following seemed preventable:


    " In January, two New York City firefighters died
    when they were trapped by rapid fire progress
    in a structure fire. Six firefighters were forced
    to jump from a fifth-story window because the
    apartment where they were trapped did not
    have a fire escape."

    Do firefighters carry any type of egress system, be it rappelling rope or otherwise?


    " − A California firefighter was electrocuted
    when he came into contact with an
    energized wire at a residential structure fire."

    Does this occur often (be it nonfatal)?

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    Quote Originally Posted by shoeBlade
    Did a little research and it appears such a system has been developed
    "The simulator evaluation resulted in the development and implementation of
    a vehicle crew protection system that consists of:
    Water sprays;
    Radiant heat curtains;
    Metal protection panels; and
    Engine metal air intake pre-cleaners." - http://www.iawfonline.org/summit/200...%20et%20al.pdf
    Looks like it was developed sometime last year
    Hmmm...To me, it looks like it was only discussed briefly. I dont think anyone has tackled the project yet. Hope you can look at it more and maybe move o it....Bou

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    Not so sure about robotics but I have a couple of ideas....

    Like Bou said, make or invent a user friendly seat belt. We have to put on our SCBA's while enroute to a call. This makes wearing a seatbelt very difficult. Most firefigthers don't wear their seat belt because it gets tangled up in the straps of the SCBA. I have either not put the SCBA on until I arrive or put it on enroute, and hope that I did not cross the seatbelt with the bottom SCBA strap, or just not hook up the bottom SCBA strap until I get out of the truck.

    I am a firm believer in seatbelts. It is hard to convince a truck load of firefighters to wear them because of a not so user friendly design. Half of the deaths have occured either to or from a call while in the truck.

    How about improve on the existing SCBA designs. I can't believe that they are perfect and cannot be improved upon.

    Improve on thermal imaging cameras and technology. Make them smaller, lighter, and clearer. Make the new and improved gas detector. Maybe even strap a hose to a robot with a TIC and see what kind of fire they can put out. That could come in handy at fuel spill fires or large warehouses/factories where the there is a great amount of heat coming from the fire. Something like a robotic fire attack or something.

    Use your knowledge to improve communications. One of the biggest headaches is when your radio doesn't work due to the battery dying, you can't reach the repeater or just can't get out of the building with all the steel and concrete. If you invent the longer lasting radio battery, you would make millions.

    Lighter, stronger tools, fittings that don't leak and that go together and come apart easier, turn out gear with internal cooling, helmets that are more comfortable, boots that won't leak, hose that will pick itself up!

    That should be enough to overwhelm you....
    Jason Knecht
    Assistant Chief
    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

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    How about:

    -adding some sort of lighted strand into hoseline without adding any additional size and/or weight.

    -some sort of integrated monitor that keeps tabs on your heart/pulse/resp while involved in fighting fires.

    -a super tough chain saw "blade" that never dulls, chips, or loses any teeth.

    the key is to come up with something that is lightweight, cheap, and tough enough to be run over by a truck without skipping a beat.

  18. #18
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    How about a SCBA mask that allows one to monitor their breathing rate, heart rate, Pulse Ox. and amount of air left along with a thermal imager that you can switch one and off. That way, you dont have to tie up your hands with a bunch of equipment.

    Some might be say... well that would be a big mask. But think of the new Scott SCBA regulators where they have the red, yellow, and green to show you how much air you have left. If you enlarged the size of the regulator exterior, you could fit those numbers into it. The only problem would be turning your Mask into a thermal imager.

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    You are all thinking after the fire has started.

    How about better building materials that prevent fires?
    Better/smaller/less expensive/easier to retrofit sprinkler systems to prevent the fires from growing?
    How about better alarming systems to notify of a fire before we need all these other gizmo's?

    Work on ways to prevent the fires and the gizmo's for fighting them won't need to be so difficult.


    and I know, not all fires can be prevented, but a vast majority could be taken care of with better prevention.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42
    and I know, not all fires can be prevented, but a vast majority could be taken care of with better prevention.
    AMEN. There are many, many products out there but you need the people to buy them and use them properly. Case in point -- smoke detectors. Cheapest thing out there and yet people still die each year because they took the batteries out or they just don't have one at all.
    "When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. My hope is to leave the world a little better for my having been there."
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    How about making the SCBA straps the seatbelt? Make some sort of a bracket that will detach the SCBA from the seat but will be strong enough for a restraint system.

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    It's been mentioned before in other threads, but I'll pass along my idea. A lot of people have mentioned it on here too.

    We do have a big problem with firefighters not wearing seat belts. In most places the airpacks that we wear are recessed (sp?) into the seat but easily detach with either a release mechanism activated by pulling a string or a simply clasp that you just pull the pack out of. Neither of these are strong enough to keep the pack in place and the firefighter at the same time. If someone were to devise a restraint system that integrated the pack into the seat that would be a great step forward.

    (Just noticed that ffexpCP pretty much said the same thing, sorry)

    Also a pressure system that detects when a seat is occupied and the seatbelt is not being used. It would alert the driver and/or officer that a firefighter is in a seat but not buckled in.
    Fir Na Tine
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    Cool Get rich quick.........

    If you wanna "get rich quick" then design a communications system that is reliable everywhere........ in buildings, outside, underground, etc.
    I have never understood how we can talk to and send signals to Mars or whatever planet we want to, but I can't key up the mic. and now that I am going to get out.
    I have even asked some folks from NASA and they have yet to be able to give me an answer.
    Come up with this system and you could market it to the Fire Service, 5-0, Trashman, Construction, Subway Operators. Do you see where I am goin' with this?
    "Be LOUD, Be PROUD..... It just might save your can someday when goin' through an intersection!!!!!"

    Life on the Truck (Quint) is good.....

    Eat til you're sleepy..... Sleep til you're hungry..... And repeat.....

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    Default Who knew?

    http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/15336463.htm

    Fighting fire with robots
    In the new robotics, smaller can be better.


    By Tom Avril
    Inquirer Staff Writer

    A firefighter in a blazing building becomes disoriented, his eyes stinging and his throat burning from acrid smoke.

    Fortunately, four helpers are on the scene to radio for assistance, having pinpointed the location of their fallen comrade on a real-time electronic map.

    For the helpers, smoke is no deterrent. They are robots.

    The boxy, three-wheeled machines are likely a few years away from being used in real fires, but they performed flawlessly last week in a simulation at a University of Pennsylvania robotics conference.

    They represent one of several dramatic recent advances in the world of automation: rather than solve a problem with one big machine, send out a swarm of smaller, networked robots that share information and operate as a team, borrowing principles from ants or other efficient members of the animal kingdom.

    "You distribute the task among many, many guys," said Vijay Kumar, chair of Penn's mechanical engineering department.

    Five years ago, engineers had trouble coordinating the efforts of two or three robots, said George Bekey, a University of Southern California robotics pioneer who attended the conference.

    With today's sophisticated algorithms, they can manage dozens.

    "The human should not get involved with the details," said Penn professor George Pappas, one of the conference organizers. Instead, "issue high-level instructions to the team."

    The research into networked machines is of keen interest to the military, which already uses individual robots to scope potentially hostile environments. Other possible applications include search and rescue, environmental monitoring, and the assembly of astronaut quarters in space.

    The word robots may conjure images of imitation human beings, like C-3PO of Star Wars fame. And some researchers are indeed making strides with such machines, especially in Japan.

    But at the conference last week, the machines on display were designed for applications in which looking like a person is hardly a plus. Engineers from around the world admired sand-digging robots, flying robots, and six-legged robots that scampered like cockroaches.

    Cheaper components and advances in computing power have helped double the amount of robotics research worldwide in the last three years, Bekey said. But he warned that U.S. funding had not kept pace.

    In a 289-page government-funded report this year, Bekey and other authors found that Japan, South Korea, and the European Union all outspend this country on research and development of robots.

    In the late 1980s, the United States lost its dominance in industrial robots - used for such tasks as welding, painting and assembly, according to the report.

    "We are in danger of losing our leading position in other aspects of robotics as well," Bekey wrote.

    Still, the networked firefighter-helpers at the conference represented a level of sophistication that could only be imagined a few years ago.

    The machines were developed by scientists at Penn, Carnegie Mellon University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    Graduate students designated one robot the "firefighter" while four helpers roamed about the laboratory, programmed to space themselves in much the same way a wolf pack surrounds its prey.

    They constantly "pinged" the firefighter with a combination of radio waves and ultrasound, sharing information to maintain a record of its location at all times.

    The helpers calculated distance by measuring how much time it took for their emitted waves to bounce back.

    For the robots to keep track of a human firefighter, the necessary electronics would need to be attached to the person's uniform, Penn's Kumar said.

    Information on the firefighter's location could be transmitted to officials outside the building and to the firefighter himself, perhaps onto a helmet-mounted display.

    The robots cost $1,500 each to make, but the price would come down if they were mass-produced.

    When told of the research, several fire officials expressed interest. Firefighter disorientation frequently leads to death, according to a 2003 study by a captain in the San Antonio Fire Department.

    Besides mapping locations, the robots could be used to measure temperature - an idea that intrigues David Daniels, chair of the Safety, Health and Survival Section of the International Association of Fire Chiefs.

    "A lot of that kind of analysis is done right now by human beings, and it's very, very shaky," said Daniels, chief of the Renton, Wash., fire department.

    But he wondered whether the addition of roaming robots to a burning building would prove too chaotic.

    Kumar said the machines would not get in the way, thanks to laser sensors that enable them to avoid collisions. Still other robots might be mounted on the walls in modern buildings.

    Though not convinced, Daniels said he saw a future for firefighting robots in one way or another. If an abandoned building is on fire, for example, water-squirting robots would be a natural fit, he said.

    "If there aren't people to be saved," he said, "why are we putting human beings at risk?"

    No ordinary robot, it sure can move. See video of a six-legged, cockroach- inspired robot via go.philly.com/robot

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------Contact staff writer Tom Avril at 215-854-2430 or tavril@phillynews.com.
    "When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. My hope is to leave the world a little better for my having been there."
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    Quote Originally Posted by REVANANT
    How about a way to pick up large and repack large amounts of LDH quickly and safely without taking up a large amount of space or involving too much heavy lifting.

    Larry

    I second that.
    FF I
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    The light at the end of the tunnel has been temporarly shut off due to the current work load. The Mangement

    When all else fails USE DUCT-TAPE!!!

    My views posted in this fourm are my personal views only and do not reflect on any agencies that I am afiliated with.

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