Smart Helmet: Combining Sensors, AI, Augmented Reality, and Personal Protection to Enhance First Responders’ Situational Awareness

A. F. García
X. O. Biain
K. Lingos
K. Konstantoudakis
A. B. Hernández
I. A. Iragorri
D. Zarpalas
IT Professional, 2023, 25(6), 45-53.


Augmented reality can enhance first responders’ situational awareness, displaying data about the environment, location, team status, objectives, and more. However, augmented reality headsets are not well suited to operational use, as they are incompatible with personal protective equipment and lack adequate power autonomy. This article presents the smart helmet, a protective helmet featuring an infrared camera, a power source, a processing hub, and a near-eye augmented reality display. The processing hub runs infrared image enhancement, object recognition AI algorithms, and the augmented reality interface, which can be connected to, and display information from, other components. The smart helmet is modular; therefore, individual parts can be selected according to mission needs, including the helmet structure, processing device, additional sensors, and other connected information sources. The whole system is self-reliant and independent from external connectivity. The smart helmet has been tested in three field trials by first responders of diverse sectors.