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Eye-Safe Imaging System to Aid Firefighters
Oct 2002
LANGHORNE, Pa., Oct. 18 -- A portable, eye-safe laser imaging system will allow firefighters to see victims and find their way in burning buildings, from outside or inside the building. The FireLidar system, being developed by RL Associates Inc. in conjunction AMPAC Inc., is meant to be used along with existing thermal imaging systems.

A lidar system is the light analog to a conventional microwave radar system. FireLidar uses a laser transmitter to illuminate firefighters' surroundings; the laser light is reflected back from the scene and detected by an imaging camera. RL Associates said a key aspect of this system is the ultranarrowband optical filter, which allows only reflected laser light through and screens any other light from flames so only the illuminated scene behind the flame is visible.

FireLidar, which has been granted a provisional patent, also has military applications, and is similar to systems being developed by the Department of Defense, RL Associates said.

For more information, e-mail Richard Billmers at

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