Wednesday, 01 August 2018 16:20

Dimension Data, Deakin Uni collaborate on VR firefighter training solution

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Global ICT solutions and services provider Dimension Data is collaborating with Deakin University’s wholly-owned start-up FLAIM Systems to create a new version of the virtual reality firefighting training simulator, the FLAIM Trainer.

The system includes an HTC Vive VR headset, personal protective clothing with heat-generation components, a breathing apparatus simulator and a patented haptics feedback system.

Under a co-innovation agreement, Deakin and Dimension Data have integrated hitoe, a wearable, bio-sensing nano-fibre vest which tracks electrocardiogram readings and transmits them in real-time for fitness analysis of firefighters during training.

The co-innovation leverages the US$2 billion in annual R&D investment by Dimension Data’s parent company, NTT, commercialising cutting-edge technology for Australian use.

Dimension Data claims FLAIM Trainer is set to revolutionise the way emergency services train and prepare to fight fires.

The company says traditional firefighter training methods are inherently unsafe, hard to reproduce in reality, expensive and environmentally harmful.

According to Dimension Data, training members of the world’s Navies, for instance, has historically been difficult – logistical constraints mean the naval members cannot fully train at sea as they are constrained in use of training smoke or use of a fire hose in the middle of a vessel.

But, using industry standard equipment and real-world systems in a virtual environment such as with FLAIM Trainer removes those constraints and allows users to train more, better and anywhere, Dimension Data says.

Ken Mahon, director, Ventures, Deakin Research Innovations, said, “We were impressed by hitoe and its potential opportunities to be integrated with FLAIM Trainer.

“With firefighters facing long periods of inactivity and fighting fewer fires than ever before, this co-innovation initiative will significantly boost the fitness and effectiveness of firefighters all around the world and put them in the best possible position to keep safe and protect our communities.”

Mahon says the combination of FLAIM Trainer and hitoe has proven to be a safe, low-cost and mobile solution that can simulate a range of fire events and conditions.

“With Deakin University producing some of the best and brightest minds, we identified an opportunity to strategically collaborate to commercialise their research,” said Duncan Brown, director of Strategy and Innovation, Dimension Data Australia.

“We’re pleased to partner with Deakin University to drive innovation in Australia and create new technologies that fundamentally transform major industries.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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