Digital Cities & Citizens

The emergency services view the injured with a fresh set of eyes

Caroline Wendt
March 23, 2020

‍Blood flows from the leg while a large glass splinter protrudes from an open wound in the forearm. As the firefighter checks the victim’s pulse and leans forward to listen for signs of breathing, the screams of other victims can be heard alongside the sirens of emergency vehicles beginning to arrive at the scene. Fortunately, this time none of it is real. The firefighters of Veberöd are practicing how to take care of many seriously injured people at the same time with the help of new technology from HeroSight and the invitation of Smart Villages.

Daniel Kindstrand and the team behind HeroSight has developed software for AR glasses (augmented reality) so that emergency service personnel can practice how to act when they arrive at a scene with many injured people. It is important to quickly evaluate the seriousness of victims’ injuries so that the right person leaves in the first ambulance. Exactly this scenario can be practiced where six people with varied injuries are assessed by firefighters whether they should be marked with a green tag (can leave by themselves), yellow, red (serious condition) or black (deceased). Onlookers only see a dummy with cardboard markings on the body – but those wearing AR glasses can see open wounds with pulsing blood, cuts and stab injuries or broken bones. A sound system plays sirens from other rescue vehicles and distant screams from the scene of the accident, but you can also hear the injured person’s breathing and can feel their pulse. The system is controlled by the one practising by squeezing the thumb and forefinger together in front of the glasses in order to move on to the next victim.

– It feels realistic, you can see injuries that bleed, firearms and gas bottles. Previously, we practiced with extras that have wounds and injuries applied with makeup, and it is a much bigger undertaking. Now it is simple, easy and quick, says firefighter Thomas Johannesson.

Daniel Kindstrand started working on the system while undertaking a master’s degree in entrepreneurship at Lund University and developed the idea further for over a year. The idea comes from his previous experience – Daniel has been a war journalist and sailor, amongst other things, and has also tried firefighting.

The system was ready in early 2020 and the firefighters in Veberöd are some of the first to try the training. Before that, instructors at the City of London Police (COLP) completed a test and soon it will be time to try something similar in Paris. During the spring the material will be used in a pilot project in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö.

– We have developed the material on our own, so now is the time to develop it further with customers and that is why we are in Veberöd, says Daniel Kindstrand. We want it to be founded in reality and want to know if it simulates realistic injuries and sound.  

HeroSight develops the software that is used together with the hardware of Microsoft HoloLens. During the ongoing development of the product, Daniel has received the help of many stakeholders in the innovation system. Win Guard and LU Innovation are some of the many valuable contributors, and in total Daniel has raised SEK 778,000 in capital to develop the product. Future by Lund has been able to assist with the association to Smart Villages (Smarta Byar®) in Veberöd, which could quickly offer the Emergency Service station with part-time firefighters as test subjects for the first exercise. Smart Villages are among other things part of Future by Lund’s SOM project and are testing digital solutions in another context than the city.

– Smart Villages is a platform to test sustainable and smart things together with a village, says Jan Malmgren of Smart Villages. We are flexible and quick – for example, we were able to put together a test with Veberöd’s part-time fire station. Our hope is that in the future it can be a testing ground for other fire stations who want to come here and train.

There are many advantages to using modern technology in emergency exercises.

– In order to do such exercises, previously it was needed to put makeup on many acting extras and take the rescue personnel to special training grounds while substitute firefighters could staff their station. With AR glasses it is possible to practice at your own fire station. Working with AR glasses as an alternative can save money, time and the environment. It takes 120 seconds to prepare the exercise and approximately the same time to reset, says Daniel Kindstrand.

Translation: Ben Dohrmann


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