From 7th to 9th November of 2022 the SIXTHSENSE consortium gathered in the impressive facilities of the Postojna firefighters to test the Beta prototype in the field. Over 50 practitioners, technology developers and researchers took part in the three day event.
The consortium took the opportunity of a physical meetup to arrange a number of co-development sessions between the practitioners and the technology developers. Most of the WPs were addressed, discussing open questions and presenting potential solutions to the experienced fire fighters to gain their perspective on the potential issues.
Fifteen firefighters took part in the full testing protocol going over an exercise circuit designed by the experts from ULE to produce high physiological strain in a controlled manner.
In addition to gathering the physiological data during these activities, the cognitive load and effects of fatigue on the decision making process were assessed in tests designed and administered by the researchers from JRD.
The SIXTHSENSE Beta prototype with the full communication chain was tested for the first time in the relevant conditions.
It has 5 distinct communication links, as shown in the figure below:
1. Exchange between the command center dashboard and the online data warehouse
2. Exchange between the online data warehouse and the mobile device (MOTOTRBO Ion)
3. Exchange between the mobile device and the team leader’s BACQ (BLE connection)
4. Exchange between the team leader’s BACQ and each team member’s BACQ (proprietary radio)
5. Exchange between the BACQ and BetaStim of one first responder (BLE)
The communication loop was completed with the SIXTHSENSE electrotactile messaging, designed for the fire fighters. Six different messages were implemented based on earlier research results and requirements gathered in the WP7 co-development sessions.
While the electrotactile communication was tested with firefighters in Rijeka, and with mountain rescuers in Belgrade and Kopaonik, this was the first time that it was tested while they were performing functional tasks and withing the full communication chain.
Illustration of the six dynamic stimulation patterns. Numbers signify the activation order.
Pads with the same number are activated at the same time. Red-colored pads are activated with a high frequency and green with a low.
From March 24th until March 28th the pilot testing of Beta prototype for electrotactile stimulation was tested in Kopaonik, the biggest mountain resort in Serbia.
The aim was to test the electrotactile communication protocols defined in D7.8 with the Beta prototype electrode defined in D7.6 in relevant winter conditions.
Ten participants took part in the endeavour which comprised skiing in crowded tracks and uphill walking during the day and at night.
The results clearly indicate that the approach is feasible and does not pose a significant distraction in performing these activities.
Between 8th and 11th of March Alpha prototype was successfully tested in mountain conditions in Bormio, Italy. Nine partners gathered to take part in the field trials, including researchers from seven technological partners, Mountain Rescue Service of Serbia and Association of Mountain Rescue Organizations of B&H.