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Home Team takes tech training to next level with Smartwatch, virtual reality system

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Smartwatch, virtual reality system showcased at seminar

Firefighters often work in dangerous conditions.

While they fight to save lives and properties, their own well-being is often overlooked, and that is why the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) is developing a new smartwatch to monitor the vital signs of its firefighters during training.

Major Hasan Kuddoos is the project lead for SCDF's planned Emergency Responders' Fitness Conditioning and Enhancement Lab, the unit working on the watch. He is leading a research study on profiling an individual's heat stress index using various devices.

The smartwatch was one of the gadgets showcased at the Home Team Academy Workplan Seminar yesterday.

While some of the gadgets being worked on will transform training, the Home Team knows technology alone will not improve the skills of its officers.

At the seminar, Minister for Manpower and Second Minister for Home Affairs Josephine Teo stressed the importance of Home Team officers continually being educated and trained.

She said: "The Home Team has thus been collaborating with the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) to develop a Certificate in Home Team Studies.

"Our officers earn credits for selected modules when they attend Home Team courses. With these credits, they can work towards an SUSS undergraduate degree, while pursuing their career in the Home Team."

When ready, each smartwatch will be linked to a dashboard software, allowing trainers to monitor the vital signs of up to 40 firefighters at a time.

The Singapore Prison Service showcased a prototype for a virtual reality (VR) scenario-based training for prison officers. Featuring three prison yard scenarios, the VR system aims to enhance realism while reducing the resources required.

The first trial was conducted in February.

Mr Teng Song Guan, the Assistant Superintendent of Prisons, was involved in the evaluation of the VR scenarios.

He said: "We can't expect to have 100 people role play just for a physical scenario, it (would take) too many resources. VR not only allows for an immersive experience, but we can easily do it multiple times."

The Singapore Police Force, meanwhile, is working on an augmented reality investigation system to improve training.

Trainees will wear smart glasses and enter simulated crime scenes for hands-on training, with their actions monitored through a live video feed by trainers from a workstation.

At any time, trainers will be able to provide support by displaying helpful information through the smart glasses.