In recent field experiments where we have evaluated the use of digital artefacts such as tabletpc and mobile phones in emergency response work, some concern have been raised on where to place the artefact when it is no longer needed. Even if a tabletpc could be rugged and placed on the ground or on a floor, the likely-hood of just dropping-the-tools is less probable. In a meeting with a fire crew in Holland, they mentioned that the fire crew commander hands over the tabletpc to the pump-man when the crew commander needs to put the technology aside. That is one way of dealing with this problem. Another way is to use less space and hand-consuming technology. One technology that could mediate information but not physically obtrusive is the head-mounted display. A product that looks promising is the Liteye 500 from Liteye. However, I must admit that even if the technology is physically and ergonomically correct, we will still face the fact that HMD:s are not yet socially acceptable, they are a provoking technology.Have a look at the HMD from Liteye that is specifically designed to fit the work of fire crews.
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They have a new picture up of a fire helmet in the UK. Maybe it is catching on.