GRW Coolme Vest: Emergency Firefighting Equipment
- UTS DAB LAB Research Gallery
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- GRW Coolme Vest: Emergency Firefighting Equipment
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This exhibition presents the prototype for a new type of cooling vest designed to significantly reduce heat stress and recovery times for emergency workers in hot intensive working conditions. A team of scientists from James Cook University developed the invention (the cooling principle) that was then designed into a wearable vest for operation and ease of manufacture by Roderick Walden and Stefan Lie. The principle end-users are fire fighters in Rural Fire Services around Australia, volunteer organisations with limited funds so the final product needed to be low in cost. The research centres on the investigation of low cost and readily available materials and manufacturing applications in achieving performance criteria for a cooling vest intended for extreme working conditions. Sixteen prototypes were made by the designers and tested in live fire trials with the Queensland Rural Fire Service. The exhibition focuses on the role of the industrial designers â taking an invention from mock-up through to a viable, manufacturing product and prototypes for user trials âand features some of the key design problems addressed. The exhibition demonstrates the contribution of design expertise to a collaborative research project, achieving a commercially viable product outcome based on an invention grounded in scientific research. The significance of this research is that it has produced a successful design for a high performance, technical product using low cost materials and technology more commonly associated with inflatable toys and packaging manufacture. This innovative approach will ensure that wide distribution of the product is made possible.
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