Firefighters’ Future is Bright… with Scott Sight!
DESIGN SERVICES: Hardware Design, Embedded Software Design, PCB Design, Prototype Fabrication, Prototype Assembly, Product Compliance Testing Liaison, Product Manufacturing Support
KEY TECHNOLOGIES: Video Processing and Infra Red Imaging, Wireless Communications, ATEX/IECEx Intrinsic Safety, Low Power, IoT Wearables
Enabling every firefighter to have enhanced situational awareness, Scott Safety’s Scott Sight combines a low cost mask-mounted thermal imaging camera with an in-mask micro-display, giving Sight to a firefighter in a smoke-filled building and significantly extending operational time during engagements with self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA).
“Making thermal imaging accessible was a first step,” stated Kim Henry, director of growth initiatives for Scott Safety and the leader of the Firefighter of the Future team. “One of the key challenges we faced was to create an adjustable, sleek design that wouldn’t interfere with the firefighter’s personal protection equipment, field of view or scene hazards. Scott Sight addresses those challenges, while creating a platform that will expand to offer additional capabilities in the future. We are proud of the final product and excited to showcase Scott Sight at FDIC 2016.”
The client had a clear and challenging set of objectives:
- Deliver a Thermal Imaging Camera (TIC) for enhanced situational awareness, operating at up to 9 frames per second (ITAR restricted)
- Devise a miniature video display for mounting inside the Scott Safety AV-3000-HT face piece
- Create no interfere with the user’s existing field of view
- Each element – TIC and micro-display unit – to have a battery life of up to 4 hrs
- System to meet the requisite classes for Intrinsically Safe Product Control Equipment and Electromagnetic Compatibility / Wireless Compliance
- Available for public product launch at FDIC2016
The success of the product delivery programme was to be measured on all of the above.
Taking account of Voice of the Customer (VoC) feedback at FDIC2015 (April) and Interschutz 2015 (June) following the demonstration of an alpha prototype, Taylor Dowding Innovation was about to embark on a challenging nine-month product delivery programme. Having identified the key tasks, created the development plan and broken down the project into specific functional blocks, the timeline appeared daunting as the final product specification exceeded the capabilities of the prototype by some considerable margin.
Nevertheless, we set about the project immediately. As the TIC had to be mounted externally, and the micro-display was to be fitted inside the AV-3000 face piece, a wireless interface became essential. An RF solution was chosen that suited this requirement and supported additional system features. Partitioning the design to allow it to fit into the restricted available space required extensive collaboration with our Industrial Design partners. Multiple size and shape options were discussed and evaluated until a compact solution, fulfilling all requirements, was eventually chosen.
If the TIC was difficult, the In-Mask Display (IMD) was going to prove even more of a challenge. The critical requirement to avoid interfering with the existing field of view was the single biggest factor concerning the team. Naturally, we adopted a compatible RF solution to receive the TIC data stream. Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) regulations, setting a minimum separation distance from the body and transmission power limitations; ATEX/IECEx Intrinsic Safety considerations; the confined space to fit batteries and, of course, the need to mount the display in the optimum viewing position, all heavily constrained both the electronic and physical design implementation.
Moving the designs from complete and demonstrable final prototype items to volume production in one step was never going to be easy – especially when the client and their manufacturing partners are in the USA. The rapid pace of development meant that we had to design the production boards before the EMS provider had been selected by our client. Once the contract manufacturer was on board, we worked remotely with regular interfacing to assist with streamlining of the manufacturing and test processes even while the first production units completed their commissioning.
Working with the client some 3,000 miles away presented its challenges. These were overcome through regular conference calls, well-executed project planning and the client’s ultimate trust in the UK Electronic Design team of TDI and Industrial Design partners, Design Reality Ltd.
Exceptional understanding and empathy amongst the whole development team ensured that the product achieved its market launch deadline at FDIC in April 2016.
Designed to be mounted in the AV-3000-HT face piece, a fire-fighter equipped with SCBA and Sight gains valuable extra time at the scene of an emergency. Taylor Dowding Innovation is proud to have worked with respiratory face mask designers Design Reality to bring Scott Sight to market, the world’s first commercially available in-mask video display with mask-mounted, thermal imaging camera for enhanced situational awareness.
The Scott Safety logo and Sight are trademarks of Scott Safety – all rights recognised.