New research, developed in part by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, could someday be used to provide first responders and firefighters with real-time temperature, gas, and danger alerts.

AUDREY, the Assistant for Understanding Data through Reasoning, Extraction, and sYnthesis, can track an entire team of firefighters, sending relevant signals to individuals while helping to make recommendations for how they could work together.

“As a firefighter moves through an environment, AUDREY could send alerts through a mobile device or head-mounted display,” said Mark James of JPL, lead scientist for the AUDREY project.

AUDREY is designed to be integrated with the “Internet of Things,” the idea of numerous devices and sensors all wirelessly “talking” to one another. In the case of firefighters, wearable sensors could pick up their GPS location, heat in other rooms, the presence of dangerous chemicals and gases, and satellite imagery of a location.

“When first responders are connected to all these sensors, the AUDREY agent becomes their guardian angel,” said Edward Chow, manager of JPL’s Civil Program Office and program manager for AUDREY. “Because of all this data the sensor sees, firefighters won’t run into the next room where the floor will collapse.”

AUDREY includes several technologies developed by NASA and the Department of Defense over the last five years. AUDREY has been in development for nine months and is funded by the Department of Homeland Security.


Also: See how NASA’s thermal system could be used to create emergency fire shelters.