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Australia Medicine Technology

Tiny Pill Relays Body Temperature of Firefighters In Real-time 67

pcritter writes "Australian firefighters are enlisting the help of tiny pill to battle fires. In a training exercise, 50 firefighters swallowed the LifeMonitor capsule which is equipped with a thermometer and a transmitter. The pill transmits data to a device worn on the chest, which also gathers data on heartbeat, respiration and skin temperature. This data is relayed in real-time, allowing better management of heat-stress during firefighting. Victoria's Country Fire Authority trialed this new mechanism when they found that the standard measurement of temperature by the ear was an ineffective indication of heat-stress. The pill is expelled naturally after two days."
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Tiny Pill Relays Body Temperature of Firefighters In Real-time

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  • by sidevans ( 66118 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @04:07AM (#42623807) Homepage

    We don't drink warm beer mate, if you open a warm beer at a party its the last one you drink there.

  • Re:suit (Score:5, Informative)

    by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @04:40AM (#42623901) Homepage Journal

    Core temperature is important for medical reasons. A suit would give you the temperature of the skin.

  • Old News (Score:5, Informative)

    by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @04:48AM (#42623935) Journal

    Nothing about this technology is new.
    Professional and rich college sports teams have been using it since the early 2000s to monitor potential heatstroke in players during summer practice and the pills cost $30~$40 each.

    I believe it all started with NASA wanting a good way to get actual body temperatures of astronauts.
    At the time, the only accurate measurement technique was a thermometer in the butt...
    And that isn't a method that allows you to gather long term data.

    FYI - Those in-ear thermometers and IR skin thermometers are only useful as indicators. Their readings cannot be considered representive of your core temperature.

  • by fantomas ( 94850 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @05:35AM (#42624073)

    Well if you live anywhere with an urban infrastructure, chances are the water you had in your coffee / glass of tap water by your bed side has been recycled through other people too....

  • As a structural firefighter in the US, I fail to see the need for this other than in some specialized testing to help make better procedures.

    Our work is not like the movies. Yes, we wear heavy gear. Yes, it's quite hot in that gear even if there is no fire on a warm day. Inside a several hundred degress (F) building, it does it's job quite well. (Wool may be used as an insulator -- though I don't think so -- but only inside the carbon fiber and gnomex coverings which are far more important).

    We go into a building wearing an air bottle good for about 30 minutes for most people in good shape. A bit less if you're working hard, a bit more if you stretch it. After about 2/3 of that time (20min) a low air alert vibrates the mask letting you know it's time to leave. You have ten minutes before it becomes a problem.

    When we exit the building we go immediately to a "rehab" area manned by EMT's. We take off our coats (on a winter day you can see the steam coming off us) and are required to drink a 20oz bottle of water. The EMTs take heart rate and blood pressure readings as we enter rehab, and before we have to pass their requirements for health and safety -- basically that both heart rate and bp are dropping back toward normal readings.

    Nothing in this pill is going to change the requirements of the job. Carrying more stuff just makes the job harder. We're already laden with 80 pounds of stuff entering the building.
  • by CaptainDefragged ( 939505 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @07:42AM (#42624445)
    In this instance, the study is with the Country Fire Authority in Victoria, which means they are mostly fighting bushfires dressed in overall type materials. Whilst they do structural fires too in the rural areas, wildfires are their bread and butter. A good example is today, where it's been 45 to 47 degrees celcius most of the day with less than 20% humidity. Add to that strong, searing hot winds. They are there for hours, days or even weeks in some cases They look something like this: []

In 1869 the waffle iron was invented for people who had wrinkled waffles.