From the 26th to the 30th of September 2022, the Small Scale Test #12 (SST#12) of the INGENIOUS project took place at ERTZAINTZA’s training facilities in Brigada movil, Bilbao, Spain. INGENIOUS is about ensuring a high level of protection and augmented operational capacity for First Responders (FRs) working inside the disaster area.

The main objectives of this field test included the integration testing and functionality validation of the corresponding components of the INGENIOUS Next Generation Integrated Toolkit (NGIT) in real-life conditions, in order to provide testing, assessment, validation and improvements for further development steps. This SST was focused on testing of two of the main INGENIOUS components, the Smart Uniform Processing Pack developed by Tekniker and the Smart Insole for Boots developed by CyRIC.

More specifically, in this SST an evolved version of uniform electronics has been tested. This version has been miniaturised by a factor of 4 both in volume and weight (Figure 1). New enclosure can now be easily put inside a pocket or attached to regular police vest by using a clip. This addresses the detachable requirement for after mission cleaning uniforms for firefighter’s team. New design includes a more powerful CPU to manage local processing. Previous single indicator has been kept for this version considering positive feedback received so far and a devoted charge indicator has also been included. 

Wireless link between uniform and smart insoles has been enhanced enabling higher data rate and better robustness. Successful auto discovery and auto recovery mechanism provides automatic configuration even in crowded wireless environment.

For this SST a new device has been integrated within FR ecosystem. A bracelet developed by ICCS (Figure 2) that collects health status of the FR measuring heart rate, O2 level and stress detection. All those data are collected wirelessly via Bluetooth and transferred regularly to de central back end [Fusion Engine (FE), Expert Reasoning Engine (ERE), Common Operational Picture (COP)] to be aggregated to have a complete picture of FR status. As for the rest of devices, personal configuration setup is managed remotely via COP terminal where role and procedures can be adapted depending on agency’s protocols.

Figure 1. End Users’ hands on experience

New features for wearable device have been implemented. Environmental temperature is now automatically sampled and transmitted to COP at regular intervals. Multiple sound patterns alerts can be played to inform the user about different alarm conditions. User role and agency’s protocols are being considered to fine tune end user interaction.

Companion software tool has been evolved accordingly to monitor and support during design, debugging and deployment activities.

Figure 2. Uniform electronics evolution (previous left, current right)
Figure 3. Bracelet integration
Figure 4. Demonstration of the Smart Uniform Processing Pack by TEKNIKER

The patented Smart Insole Boots technology integrates sensors and edge processing algorithms to detect critical and life-threatening events for the FR. Their wearable and completely wireless operation make the Smart Insole Boots a non-intrusive and indispensable tool for FRs. By placing the insoles inside operational FR boots, they instantly become smart boots.

Figure 5. Demonstration and training of First Responders on Smart insoles functionalities

During the SST#12, the smart insoles were demonstrated to a group of first responders including the Hellenic Rescue Team and the Södertörns fire service association. The FRs had hands-on experience and were trained regarding the features, capabilities and handling of the tool. The users simulated a series of activities wearing the smart boots that could occur in real use case scenarios. Events such as immobilised situation, impairment simulation, crawling, limping, heavy weightlifting (up to 70 kg) and prolonged running were detected by the insoles and forwarded to the INGENIOUS platform to raise an alert about the severity of the situation. To further enhance the user’s experience a new feature was integrated and demonstrated during SST#12 in the form of a mission report. The users expressed a particular interest in this feature and provided their feedback for further optimising the report.

Figure 6. End Users’ testing of the Smart Insoles for Boots

The Information Flow involved several of NGIT tools from different INGENIOUS partners and can be summarised in the following steps:

  1. Smart Insole Boots (CyRIC) detect critical events (FR immobilised)
  2. Smart Uniform (TEK) collects and forwards such events using the Field Comms (ICCS)
  3. Fusion Engine (EXUS) and Expert Reasoning (CERTH) process events to generate Alerts
  4. Common Operational Picture (SATWAYS) visualises Alerts
Figure 7. SST#12 in progress (1)
Figure 8. SST#12 in progress (2)
Figure 9. SST#12 in progress (3)

Overall, the end user operators assessed the ease of use of these technologies with existing personal protection gear and equipment (e.g. boots). Although some fine-tuning was required for better insole moulding and threshold values for some of the alerts, the results were clearly satisfactory and within the expected specifications.

Read about the results from the 1st round of SSTs and SST#3 for the testing and validation of the Smart Uniform Processing Pack and the Smart Insole for Boots here.

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