Skip to main content

Intel's Fireball Sensor Goes Where First Responders Can't, Reports Back to Your Phone

Today, at Intel's IDF Day Zero presentations, the company showed off a number technologies designed to help communities respond to disasters large and small. Perhaps the most interesting of these is a balll shaped sensor device designed for firemen that Intel simply calls the Fireball. 

Though it looks like Princess Leia's themal detonator, the hand sized orb is designed to save lives by detecting hazardous gases in burning buildings. First responders can throw the device into a building like a factory that has a strong likelihood of releasing dangerous chemicals into the air. Once the Fireball is inside, its gas sensors test the air for carbon dioxide, ammonia, nitrogen, and other toxic gases then relay a Wi-Fi signal back to a small Atom-powered server in the fire truck. The server relays a signal to the responders' smartphones where an app shows them a report of conditions inside the building, which they can use to decide whether or not to go in.

In addition to the Fireball, Intel is testing the technology in a number of othr which then sends them to an app on the responders' smart phones. The fire team can then decide whether its safe to enter the  devices, including a toxic fumes sensor designed to detect terrorist attacks at airports and other sensitive locations. The company doesn't plan to mass produce its devices and sell them under the Intel brand, but instead to share these reference designs with partners who will productize them. 

Check out the video below, where Intel's Terry O'Shea shows how the Fireball works.