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Holograms Add New Dimension to Fighting Fire

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A firefighter on the job.

A combination of holograms and thermal imaging allow firefighters to see through smoke and flames during a rescue.

Credit: Colin Wood/Shutterstock

A researcher in Italy is combining holograms with thermal imaging to make fighting fires safer.

Thermal imaging can see through smoke, but not flames that can obscure people in need of rescue. The National Research Council's Pietro Ferraro has developed hologram technology that uses laser beams and numerical-processing software, enabling the device to see through flames and generate a 3D image of a room. Combined with thermal imaging, the technology would enable firefighters to see through smoke and flames during a rescue.

The software can construct a single frame of imagery in less than a half a second. A relatively small amount of processing power is required, which means the task can be handled by a regular laptop or mobile device. Ferraro has conducted experiments in a laboratory that simulated outdoor conditions.

"We are strongly confident about the possibility to bring this technology out of the lab," he says. "We think that in a few years, these systems could be applied for fixed installations, for example in hospitals, schools tunnels, or even highways."

From Government Technology
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