When search and rescue cameras were introduced in the early 1990’s they changed the way technical search specialists conducted operations in collapsed structures. Since that time, technology has moved forward by leaps and bounds but search camera development over the same period appears to have stalled. Current technical search cameras contain an image sensor mounted in a housing that requires it to move left or right via a series of small servo motors attached to fine pitch gears, drives or pulley’s. The camera body is then turned 90 degrees so that the head moves up or down to provide a view of the rest of the space. The mechanical movement of the camera head has its drawbacks and anyone who uses them regularly will tell you that the mechanical head is prone to; breakage, expensive repairs and potentially lengthy periods where the equipment is out of service.
For the last couple years, the development team at Agility Technologies have been focused on developing the next generation technical rescue camera. One that will drastically reduce search times, provide a multipurpose tool and allow for mobile integration. This intensive effort has brought forward a multitude of technological advances in the miniaturization of electronics and the creation of proprietary mechanics, software and firmware developed to make the user interface practical, intuitive and easy to use. The FirstLook360 (FL360) Rescue Camera has no moving parts. It’s unique optical configuration provides a live streaming spherical view that is controlled on a tablet running the FL360 App. The camera incorporates two-way audio communication, adjustable 360° on-board lighting, wired or wireless operation, live stream or still frame recording, time, date & GPS location, mobile connectivity built into a custom molded IP68 housing.
Technically speaking, the images that the FL360 Rescue Camera streams are inner-sphere panorama views. To explain this, simply imagine taking pictures from the front, back, up, down left and right sides simultaneously then stitching them all together to cover the inside of hollow globe. The viewer is then positioned in the centre of the globe and no matter where that person looks, the view would be represented like the inside of a hollow sphere.
Now, substitute the person in the globe with the FL360 Rescue Camera. Live images are transmitted wirelessly or wired to a tablet screen and by simply swiping left, right, up, down and/or using the pinch to zoom gestures you can look anywhere inside the space.
In operations following natural or manmade disasters; Earthquakes, Tornados, Hurricanes, Bombings etc. Time is a precious commodity for those who are trapped. The ability to see all of a space in seconds allow rescuers to search faster. In addition, images can be recorded and shared, opening new avenues for collaboration and cooperation.
Unlike searching cameras built specifically for a single purpose, the FL360 was purpose built to maximize value and operate in multiple operational areas for example USAR, Hazmat, Confined Space, Trench, High- Angle, Vehicle Extrication, Situational Awareness, Investigations & Inspections. Additionally, the FL360 is perfect for Law Enforcement, Border/Port Security applications making it a very cost effective, multi-role, multi-jurisdictional tool that allows the sharing of information and addressing complex coordinated terror attacks (CCTA).
If you have questions or would like to see more about the FirstLook360 camera, please go to our website at www.agilitycorp.com/firstlook360. For more in-depth information, explore the Resource and News pages on the website and all our social media properties.
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Written by: Andy Ibbetson, Co-Founder / Partner / Director of Product Development at Agility Technologies Corp.