A new swallowable pill is being trialed with 50 firefighters in Australia, aimed at monitoring body temperatures and other vital readings while working in extreme conditions, according to a report from Engadget.
The Equivital’s EQ02 LifeMonitor capsule transmits metrics to a device housed on the chest, which then sends data on skin temperature, heart rate and respiration rate to an external computer, the article says. If the firefighter’s core body temperature is increasing too quickly, he or she could be moved from the frontline to a recovery area to hopefully reduce the number of accidents and deaths caused by heat exhaustion, the article says.
This method was also used to monitor Felix Baumgartner during his 23-mile drop to Earth.
Previously, the standard method involved measuring body temperatures through the ear, but this new method offers a faster, more effective way of watching multiple vital signs, Engadget reports.
So far, the article says, research has been focused on monitoring a firefighter’s core temperature when he or she has been exposed to temperatures from -3 to 124 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes, but additional reports note that testing will continue on the capsules, with temperatures likely to exceed 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit (600 Celsius).