The explosion of mobile technology in every area of our society is all around us. New ways to order taxi cabs, pay for meals, interact with appliances, and communicate with friends using our mobile devices have come out at record pace. These technologies seem to automagically appear on our devices. However, even with all these advances, many rescue professionals must make do with antiquated equipment. That said, rapid changes are coming; FirstNet in the United States and Tetra/GSM in Europe will take interoperability to the next level. What these systems lack are the integrated job specific accessories that take them beyond simple handheld communication devices and make them central to a rescue effort.
Agility Technologies Corporation (ATC), was started with the ambitious mission to harness new technologies and develop products for Rescue professionals. In short, we wanted to put the “Tech” back in Technical Rescue. ATC founders’ combined 30+ years of experience designing and manufacturing practical and reliable rescue equipment, joined with the technical abilities of a young focused team of innovative engineers, gave birth to FirstLook360 (FL360). FL360 is the first live streaming 360° technical search camera designed specifically for today’s technical rescue teams that will allow them to leverage the advantages of mobile connectivity and interoperability well into the future.
Those familiar with existing rescue cameras will notice right away that FL360 contains no moving parts. The design completely does away with the rubber bellows that cover a series of joints, motors, gears, pulleys or belts used to turn the camera head left or right. FL360 utilizes two ultra-wide angle lenses on either side of a sealed camera head to achieve a complete 360° visual experience without the need to move the head.
The brain of the FL360 is its onboard microprocessor loaded with ATC’s proprietary firmware that combines the video from both lenses together into a seamless single stream, allowing rescuers to view an entire space without having to move the camera. This video stream is viewable in real time via a wired or wireless connection on the provided tablet running the FL360 Android App. The app is the central hub which controls the many features of FL360. Because time is critical during any rescue mission, FL360 can save time by not having to wait for slow clockwork mechanisms to move the camera head, The image of an entire space is taken all at once. A rescuer now has multiple options on how best to conduct the void space search. The FL360 allows for an alternative approach where the 360 video recordings and still images can be shared over LTE, Wi-fi, emailed, or messaged to colleagues who may be thousands of miles away to conduct a precise search of the space. This capability allows a Rescue team in the field to leverage resources back at home. As all of the images include time, date and GPS data they can be integrated into mapping and incident command programs.
The FL360 user interface (UI/UX) has been optimized for visual search to be conducted by the rescuer in real time, simply probe the camera in any space and view anywhere within the space by swiping a finger across the screen or by using FL360’s virtual joystick feature to control the focus area. Views can be inspected in more detail by using pinch to zoom feature and for dark or low lit spaces the camera head incorporates 6 Super Bright LEDs with operator controllable brightness levels on the tablet.
FL360 Application Features:
|Spatial orientation and re-center control||Meridian line with forward pointer|
|Time, date and GPS location data||Low latency live streaming and/or recording|
|Spherical 360°still image capture||Real-time sharing of 360° videos and images (WiFi & LTE)|
|On board storage with removable SD card available up to 256G||Push-To-Talk controllable two-way audio|
|Onboard diagnostics||Multiple user preference settings|
|Purpose built and downloadable viewer||In app help screen overlays|
|VR capable using VR googles with viewer app (training)||Video and image map overlay|
FirstLook360 – ATC USAR Kit #1
|FL360 Rescue Camera w/Audio & Environmental Lids||FL360 Tethering Cable w/Connectors|
|FL360 Li-ion Protected Batteries (4)||Multi-Charger – Batteries/Tablet (w/Vehicle Charging Adapter)|
|FL360 Collapsible/Telescoping Camera Boom||Power Bank Battery w/Charging Cable (10,050 mAh)|
|FL360 Grip Handle w/Camera Support||FL360 Camera Boom Shoulder Sling|
|FL360 Rail Mount for Grip Handle||Tablet – 9.7” (Wi-Fi & LTE)|
|FL360 Behind Head Operator Headset||Tablet Holder – 9.7”|
|FL360 Smart Battery Holder||Tablet Holder Base w/1” Ball|
|FL360 Battery Compartment Tool – 4mm Hex||Tablet Adjustable Mounting Arm w/Double Socket|
|FL360 Boom Mount w/1” Ball||9.7” Silicone Tablet Protective Cover|
|FL360 Coiled Cable w/Connectors||SD Card Memory Expansion (64GB)|
|FL360 Hard Case w/ Custom Foam Interior||9.7” Screen Protection Film w/Anti Glare|
|CR123A Battery Adapter Tubes (2)|
Multi Use Tool
FirstLook360 is designed to be a complete multipurpose system. The idea is to put something in the hands of Rescuers that has additional capabilities far exceeding the single use victim location cameras currently available. In addition to its primary function as a survivor location camera following a building collapse, the portability and connectivity options allow the FL360 to be used for other operational uses;
Trench/Rope Rescue – FL360 can be hung from a high point, over an edge or above a trench to stream video images to a command truck, belay person or viewed on tablets or mobile devices.
Vehicle Extrication – FL360 could be used to look into the foot wells or crushed cabs of cars and trucks to ensure no person or object is in the way prior to cutting.
Fire Inspection/ Investigation – FL360 can be poked through T-Bar Ceilings or into attics to check that sprinklers are attached or used to record a full 360 view of a fire scene as visual evidence so nothing gets left out of the shot. In addition all audio notes are recorded with the video in real time with Time Date and GPS data for evidentiary purposes.
On-Scene Recording – FL360 can be set up on a pole or hung from a highpoint to record events during a fire. Its 360 capability allows it to record video in all directions for forensic review or training purposes.
Hazmat – FL360 can be taken an left in a contaminated area to wirelessly stream and record a 360° view of an event back to a command post in the safe zone. The IP67 rating makes it easy to clean and decontaminate for ongoing use.
The above list is by nature incomplete, the technology developed for the FL360 has many capabilities outside the rescue field for which it was initially designed. Applications for Law enforcement, Corrections, Border security and vehicle inspections have been identified by users who have seen the camera in action. In addition, a host of application “Future Software Features” is being compiled for the next application upgrade of the FL360 app.
We will be posting regular updates on the camera and its usage, so other teams in the field can learn and apply FL360 for their own use. Subscribe to our newsletter at www.agilitycorp.com, email us at email@example.com or call +1 604-259-1579 to arrange a demonstration.
Written by Andy Ibbetson – Co-founder of Agility Technologies Corp.
Andy with his father Terry was one of the founding members of Con-Space Communications Ltd until it was taken over by a European group. As a volunteer Fire Fighter and a practical hands-on individual he was responsible for numerous product developments that have become standard equipment in thousands of brigades and departments across the globe. He is currently the Co-Founder, Partner and Director of Product Development at Agility Technologies Corporation located in British Columbia, Canada he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.