Spanish startup company Prometeo tested their AI-based monitoring device on firefighters for the first time in February, during a prescribed burn in a forest near Olivella in Spain’s northwestern region of Catalonia.

The technology uses artificial intelligence and the internet of things to help keep firefighters safe using a device the size of a smartphone strapped to their uniforms. Ten firefighters volunteered to test the device during a controlled wildfire.

The device has sensors that monitor temperature, smoke concentration and humidity in real-time, and can send colour-coded alerts via a Cloud platform to command centres. That information can then be used to pull firefighters out if the situation gets too dangerous, as well as tracking their long-term exposure to smoke.

Prometeo won the IBM 2019 Call for code prize, a five-year, $30-million philanthropic project. Their technology stood out from the other entries from over 165 countries in the competition. Their objective is to deploy their cutting-edge technology at home and further afield to protect the health of those on the frontline.

Prometeo is formed by a group of five volunteers based in Barcelona including firefighter Joan Herrera, emergency nurse Vicenç Padró and software developers and data scientists Salomé Valero, Josep Ràfols and Marco Rodríguez.