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Australian firefighters stay cool with biometric pill


Firefighters in Australia have helped to test a new swallowable capsule from Equivital that wirelessly transmits core body temperature and other crucial biometric measurements in real time, to measure the health and safety of firefighters working under extreme conditions, News.com.au reports.

The capsule, called the VitalSense Core Temperature Capsule, is about the size of a multivitamin and once swallowed, transmits core temperature readings approximately every 15 seconds after being activated. The company suggests the pill’s battery lasts for about 10 days and the normal passage time is one to five days.

The VitalSense capsule transmits information to a monitor, called the Equivital EQ02 LifeMonitor, positioned on the left side of the user’s chest. This monitor measures ECG, heart rate, respiratory rate, galvanic skin response, skin temperature as well as a number of non-biometric measurements including fall detection and GPS.

According to the report, this is the same technology that was used to monitor Felix Baumgartner’s record-breaking jump from space and represents a significant change to the previous standard method of measuring body temperatures: through the ear.

Firefighters have tested this system while exposed to temperatures between 26-255 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes, with tests planned with temperatures as hot as 1112 degrees. As bush fires at this time of the year are a major concern in parts of Australia, workers and volunteers are often exposed to extreme heat conditions that must be monitored.

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