Morse code, tapping through barriers, hand signals, tugging on ropes, and other rudimentary methods are the current means used by the Air Force to communicate while in hazardous areas and confined spaces. These methods put people's lives at risk, decrease aircraft/personnel availability, quality control of maintenance, and increase maintenance hours, costs, hazard exposure, and training time. Confined space entrants and their attendants or emergency responders and their incident commanders are the most affected while repairing equipment or responding to incidents. The problem persists due to the physical characteristics of the work environments, such as aircraft, storage tanks, ventilation shafts, underground structures, or emergency response, as well as processes established decades ago with technology that lacks modern-day capabilities.
A team based out of RAF Mildenhall in England designed the Integrated Respirator Information System (IRIS), a proof-of-concept respirator with audio-visual and lighting capabilities to address precisely this problem. Our challenge is to make this concept a reality. By providing real-time communications via a low profile, lightweight device, we are seeking solutions that address several requirements. The device must illuminate and provide video capture of the working area, with a live video feed and real-time 2-way audio communication to a networked computer and personnel outside of the working area. It should leverage intrinsically safe commercial technologies, to develop a scalable, modular platform to integrate capabilities and enable the real-time audio-video communication needs of teams working in hazardous environments and confined spaces.
This Showcase is meant to display the innovative solutions that were selected through the AFWERX Challenge process on the topic of an Integrated Respirator Information System. When visiting a virtual booth, you can send a calendar invite request to the exhibitor, send an inquiry email, watch a promotional video, and read a bit more detail about the solution provider.