Laboratory Integration and Testing of the Intelligent Uniform device and Smart Boots for the Smart First Responder concept (LIT#3 & LIT#12)
One of the main items that support the INGENIOUS Smart First Responder concept is the Intelligent Uniform device that is currently under development by TEKNIKER partner.
TEKNIKER is a private non-profit research organization founded in 1981 with near 270 researchers, with a relevant background and expertise in supporting the development of embedded hardware and software products for highly demanding applications, from advanced industrial sensors up to mission-critical systems and highly integrated miniaturized devices embedding advanced processing, machine-vision and photonics, IoT communications or multipurpose sensors for heterogeneous applications such as wearables or rugged outdoor standalone industrial solutions.
As Integration leader, TEKNIKER has been supporting and attending the overall rounds of Laboratory Integration Tests (LITs) where the preliminary developments of the different technology items of the INGENIOUS Next Generation Integrated Toolkit (NGIT) have been demonstrated.
As the main responsible partner for the development of the Smart Uniform concept within INGENIOUS, TEKNIKER together with the partners responsible for the Smart Boots (CYRIC) and Fusion Engine (EXUS) performed the Lab Test number 3 (LIT#3) where a first demonstration of technologies was shown.
The virtual testing demo took place in October 2020 at TEKNIKER premises by using some early prototypes provided by the involved partners that enabled realistic testing of a hardware device acting as Intelligent Uniform that was connected to a pair of smart boot insoles prototypes to exchange sampling information through an enhanced Bluetooth Low Energy communication channel. Remote connection with INGENIOUS infrastructure was also exercised including VPN and KAFKA ecosystem implementing agreed interfaces.
The testing session was also remotely supported by CYRIC for some additional live demos with the smart boots’ insoles monitoring user physical activities and detecting potentially dangerous conditions.
Not only the local communication between Uniform, Boots and additional wearable devices was tested, but the test also provided a first implementation of the ability of the Uniform device to offer local processing capabilities (e.g. the Boot Edge Software embedded by CYRIC onto the Uniform hardware to process raw signals coming from both boots) and events/alerts/notifications triggering functionality. Finally, a preliminary implementation for remote information exchange to different tools was provided. On one hand, the system was able to generate preliminary examples of message exchanges with the INGENIOUS Fusion Engine, while on the other, an early implementation of the Smart Uniform configuration and remote monitoring dashboard tool was also presented.
Although still not in a fully customized hardware shape, the conducted test showed main target functionalities like auto discovery mechanism, simultaneous, high-rate reading, low power wireless link; hosting edge processing; monitoring physical activity; identify potential harmful situation for the user; notify relevant event to be aggregated with other components; routing directed information to every actor.
Essential user feedback was collected during the sessions to double check the design addresses the First Responders needs and to be on track and fine tuning in the next iterations.
2nd round of LITs
LIT#12 took place on May 25, 2021 between the technical partners CyRIC and Tekniker. From the end-user perspective, 4 teams attended: ERTZ, ISAR, SBFF, and HRTA. The objective was to present the development progress for Smart Boots (CyRIC) and Uniform (Tekniker) tools and demonstrate the interaction between them. Due to travel restrictions, the LIT was conducted remotely, requiring CyRIC and TEK to exchange hardware, firmware, and software. Remote system integration proved challenging, however, continuous communication and testing led to a successful LIT.
The independent functionalities of each tool were presented as well as functionalities engaging both tools. CyRIC presented an integrated insole prototype including the mechanical design, the sensors, and the electronics. It demonstrated functionalities such as wireless charging, sleep and waking up capabilities, wireless communication, and events generation. From Tekniker‘s perspective, it demonstrated the Uniform prototype and functionalities such as the sounding alarm system (alarming when an alert from the Fusion Engine is received), a mechanism to detect the connect insole pair that it should connect with. Additional functionalities presented by both parts such as wireless communication, high-frequency raw data transfer using Bluetooth 5 technology, real-time data processing, events generation, and routing to the Fusion Engine.
To facilitate the remote integration several external tools were leveraged during the demonstration such as Bluetooth scanners, development platforms, wireless chargers, and Bluetooth nodes. In addition to demonstrating to the end-users the added value of the produced events (FR is immobilized, walking, or lifting heavyweight) and make the whole procedure more realistic a dedicated scenario namely “Response to a large forest fire” were leveraged. During the scenario, CyRIC team pretended to be the FR while Tekniker team was the Team Leader.
The target was to keep the functionalities as simple as possible and figured out validation methods to highlight the functionalities to the End-Users without overwhelming with technicalities. That seems to have worked since most of the functionalities were clear to the end-users.
Most of the functionalities were demonstrated with success and based on the end users’ feedback, they experienced a high degree of satisfaction, marking most of the functionalities in the evaluation form as “pass”. During the live discussion, valuable feedback and comments were received such as generating additional posture events, measuring the temperature inside the insoles, re-considering the sound alarm in uniform since this could be annoying for the users, improving the algorithms for generating the events. The general impression was positive, and the end-users can see the system’s usage and how it can upgrade their situational awareness capabilities.