Firefighter creates Google Glass app to help save lives
Fire boots: Check. Helmet: Check. Self-contained breathing apparatus: Check. Google Glass: Huh?
Wed, Jan 22, 2014 at 02:25 PM
Better known for sparking controversy about privacy and eliciting derision when donned by so-called “glassholes,” the wearable technology that so many people love to hate may soon be primed for an image makeover.
Patrick Jackson, a North Carolina firefighter who dabbles in computer programming, has developed an app for Google Glass that he hopes will help save lives. At the same time, he has inadvertently demonstrated a smart, real-world use for Glass, which to some comes across as frivolous technology.
The app delivers crucial information directly to eye level, saving firefighters from having to check a radio, smartphone or computer in the midst of an emergency.
"I'll hear a little notification and can look up into the top corner of my vision and see a map of where it is. I see the location of the incident and what type of call it is," Jackson told CNN. The technology can also record video, which could help with investigations.
Jackson plans to add even more features in future versions, including data on specific buildings like blueprints, potential building hazards and contact information for owners.
Unfortunately, Glass isn't compatible with the firefighters’ oxygen masks yet, so for now the app is more useful to external personnel. Also, most fire departments don’t have the funding for such a high-tech upgrade.
But that hasn’t stopped the self-taught programmer from striving to find new ways to help emergency rescue workers. Before his Google Glass app, Jackson created the Android app called Firefighter Log, which also delivers crucial information — like text messages from emergency dispatchers, emergency radio feeds, and location information for fires and hydrants — to a smartphone.
For now, he's working on another smart application for Google Glass that may be more readily employable: an app to help perform CPR. Using Glass’ built-in accelerometer, the app will be able to measure someone's chest compressions and guide the rescuer on proper pacing.
See the Glass app in action in the Google video below:
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