During the 2021 winter season, SIXTHSENSE partners, Tecnalia Serbia and MRS, tested the electrotactile alpha prototype made within the WP7 over the previous months.
The alpha prototype included electrodes for electrotactile stimulation, used to code messages and warnings that first-responders can recognize. It is an ambitious endeavor as this was the first time such modality was used to transmit meaningful information to first responders as they are performing usual tasks in their line of duty. There are several open challenges that this project is trying to overcome, starting from confirming the feasibility of using the novel communication channel in the conditions the first responders face.
The tested system was made with first responders-for first responders. This was the first time it was tested outside the laboratory. With the help of Serbia’s Mountain Rescue Service – MRS, under the supervision of Tecnalia Serbia’s researchers the tests were performed on the snowy slopes of Kopaonik mountain in Serbia. The mountain rescuers wore the electrotactile system under their standard gear and tried to recognize different stimulation patterns that were applied as they performed their tasks.
In this real-world scenario, on the frozen mountain peaks, very promising initial results were obtained. The first responders could confidently distinguish multiple messages transmitted by the system while performing different activities in varying weather conditions.
Besides the promising results, the following photos speak of a good mood that followed the tests.
Further work on beta prototype includes integrating the electrodes in a vest-like garment the first responders can wear during their missions. During the years 2021/2022 the SIXTHSENSE project will bring a new look to first responders and make them a step closer to obtaining their sixth sense.
Until then, enjoy the view!