Deakin launches new start-up for VR emergency service training

Media release
04 September 2017

Deakin University has launched a new start-up business to share the power of its virtual reality firefighting simulator, the FLAIM Trainer™.

FLAIM Systems Pty Ltd is a Geelong-based start-up aimed at commercialising the ground-breaking research from Deakin’s Institute for Intelligent Systems Research and Innovation (IISRI).

Associate Professor James Mullins, who has taken on the role of FLAIM Systems Chief Technology Officer, said the launch was an important step in translating Deakin University research into real-world products with life-saving applications.

"Beginning with the FLAIM Trainer™, FLAIM Systems will look to apply Deakin University research in delivering solutions for emergency services and first responders around the world," Associate Professor Mullins said.

"FLAIM trainer™ and subsequent commercial-ready solutions from IISRI have the capacity to be used in fire departments, training schools and other training providers - the global market for these services is potentially worth more than $3 billion."

As a firefighting simulator, FLAIM Trainer™ uses an immersive virtual reality environment - combined with a patented haptics feedback system, breathing apparatus and heated personal protective clothing - to provide a unique training experience.

The system has proven to be a safe, low cost and mobile solution that can simulate a range of fire events and conditions - allowing firefighters to train more, train better, and train anywhere.

IISRI Director Professor Saeid Nahavandi said the Institute’s researchers were world leaders in haptic (force feedback) technology, which provides a more accurate simulation and ensures firefighters are thoroughly prepared to face the real thing.

"The haptic feedback in FLAIM Trainer™ is represented through the 'kick back' of water pressure, which, combined with the virtual reality solution, allows trainees to use the system in any location," Professor Nahavandi said.

"FLAIM Trainer™ is the result of a large team effort over the past two years, and the launch of FLAIM Systems aligns with our mission to create knowledge and solutions for real-world problems."

FLAIM Systems will maintain a research and development relationship with IISRI to support ongoing development of solutions for the emergency services sector, serving as a commercialisation channel for IISRI research.

The new FLAIM Systems venture will be on full display this week at the AFAC Fire and Emergency Management Conference 2017 in Sydney, from September 4 to 7.

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