In this week’s Swipe, Angela Barnes visits an RNLI centre in Dorset to take a look at some high-tech boats making rescue missions safer.The charity tends to an average 23 call-outs a day around the UK and Ireland, often in dangerous conditions.
Shannon lifeboats, which cost £2.1m to make, are equipped with a system that gives crew members all the information they need without leaving their seats. RNLI’s Dan Sharp explained how the technology works.
“The Systems Information Management System (SIMS) on board gives the crew all the information it needs to operate the boat at their fingertips, and on a single screen.
“It comes with things like a CCTV screen, so in rough weather if the crew have to move around the boat they can be seen.
“We have also got the pan-tilt zoom camera which enables the crew to keep an eye on their outside surroundings.”The real benefit of this system is that the crew don’t have to move around the boat to access different bits of information,” he said.
The boat also has features like shock absorbing seats – and water jets instead of propellers which allow the Shannon to operate in shallow waters.Another key feature is that they are designed to be inherently self-righting, returning to an upright position if it capsizes.New technology is also helping lifeguards in training.
Surveillance is a critical part of their job – and eye tracking is helping them with that. It can show how rescue workers process information, how they respond to it, and whether or not that response is appropriate.
Eyetracker CEO, Iain Janes, explained: “One camera records the field of vision, so what is in front of the lifeguard in this case.”The second camera picks up the eye, so what happens is those two bits of data are merged together, so you have a video showing what people are looking at,” he said.
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