Movie fans have looked in awe at silver screen technological wonders, such as Iron Man's A.I. companion Jarvis who often kicks in to save the superhero in a pinch – now a leading Israeli defense company has taken the technology from the realm fantasy and applied it to the real world in a system that can save lives.
Elbit Systems has launched Canary, an integrated physiological monitoring device for fighter jet pilots which is embedded in their very helmets, and can warn them in advance to take action before they lose consciousness.
It can even taken control of the plane for them in a pinch, speeding the unconscious and prone pilot out of danger.
The device gives real-time alerts for in-flight life threatening situations, and in extreme cases such as oxygen shortage known as hypoxia or loss of consciousness, it gives a warning to the pilot either as an audio-visual alert on the pilot’s Helmet Mounted Display (HMD) or on the aircraft's mission computer using the HMD interfaces.
Thanks to the alert, the pilot will have time to react before losing consciousness and take steps to avoid the danger.
If the pilot does lose consciousness and become unable to fly, the system automatically engages the auto-pilot, thereby saving the aircraft and the pilot.
Developed with sensor technology of the Israeli start-up LifeBEAM and supported by the Israeli Defense Ministry, the new system will be integrated into Elbit's helmets and HMD systems, and does not even require any pilot interaction to do its job.
"Pilots may be exposed to life-threatening medical conditions during flight due to low levels of oxygen," said Elbit Systems Aerospace Division's General Manager, Yoram Shmuely.
"Modern aircraft may cause G-induced Loss of Consciousness (GLOC) and other physiological conditions (such as extreme fatigue, dehydration, etc. – ed.) which are a common cause for accidents with no reliable warning or recovery solution available," added Shmuely. "We believe that our new system will solve these problems and save pilots' lives”.