Search and Rescue Device

MSA has always been committed to protecting firefighters around the globe – most recently, the company has aggressively explored improving firefighter safety by bringing situation awareness and search-and-rescue technology into the hands of firefighters to assist across multiple jobs on a fire-scene. MSA recently introduced LUNAR as part of their Connected Firefighter platform.

LUNAR is a handheld search and rescue device that alerts its user when another firefighter’s LUNAR goes into alarm, either triggered by a lack of movement or by a deliberate call for help. By establishing a connection to the alarming LUNAR, it guides the rescuer to the firefighter in distress by providing real-time information about the relative position and distance between the two devices.

LUNAR also features personal thermal imaging with edge detection, which helps to identify hot spots and ventilation points, improves situational awareness, and eases navigation through low visibility areas. It also connects to the firefighter’s G1 SCBA to help monitor air pressure, SCBA battery life, and airtime remaining.

MSA came to Daedalus to collaborate on the search and rescue element of LUNAR, specifically in integrating and displaying the relative position and distance information on the thermal imaging display to improve the user’s experience in finding and tracking alarming LUNARs.

Our UX designers eagerly applied themselves to the challenge of graphically guiding the user during the search and rescue process, and ideated several widely differing concepts for what LUNAR’s screen could look like as it was displaying tracking location and distance relative to an alarming LUNAR. Inspiration was drawn from a number of “targeting” applications and from various modern gaming and photography products. Following discussions of the merits of each with MSA’s LUNAR team and explorations with firefighters, the team landed on a system of concentric arcs that graphically and numerically represent the distance to the alarming LUNAR, which was combined with a graphical and numeric signal strength display that indicates the likely direction of the signal.

An interesting challenge for the UI was that the search and rescue display would be superimposed over the integrated thermal imaging display, which supported 18 different color palettes, from cool blues, greens, and purples to warm yellows, oranges, and reds, and even over white through black. This meant that the tracking display elements had to be discernible over any color of the spectrum. We accomplished this through a range of visual techniques, including contrasting borders, which ensure that the indicators would never blend in with similarly colored background elements from the thermal image.

For more information on the immersive and groundbreaking technology incorporated into this new-to-world device, please visit MSAfire.com.

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