Wow of the Week: Swallowable sensors keep tabs on Australian firefighters’ vitals

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In an effort to better understand how the body manages heat stress in emergency situations, Australian fire authorities are testing a new swallowable sensor device for its firefighters.

The data gathered from these sensors has allowed Victoria’s Country Fire Authority to better personalize how firefighters are deployed and managed, officials say. Firefighters swallow purple plastic capsules containing a tiny thermometer and a wireless transmitter that detect and transmit their core body temperature to a computer. Made by sensor company Vivonoetics, the sensor capsules also communicate with a lightweight device that’s strapped around the chest to detect skin temperature, heart rate and respiration rate.

What’s even more interesting is that it’s the same idea behind the thermometer pill designed by NASA and John Hopkins University 20 years ago, and it’s now  also used by professional athletes. Vivonoetics’ version was also used by Felix Baumgartner during his recent jump from space.


[Photo from flickr user The National Guard]

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Deanna Pogorelc

By Deanna Pogorelc MedCity News

Deanna Pogorelc is a Cleveland-based reporter who writes obsessively about life science startups across the country, looking to technology transfer offices, startup incubators and investment funds to see what’s next in healthcare. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ball State University and previously covered business and education for a northeast Indiana newspaper.
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