360-degree video inside a forest fire

NIST designed a water-cooled camera

video in forest wildland wildfire fire
NIST

(From the National Institute of Standards and Technology)

Conservation Foundation’s Franklin Parker Preserve in the New Jersey Pine Barrens conducted on March 27, 2019 by the U.S. Forest Service and New Jersey Forest Fire Service. This video shows a forest fire that spreads along the forest floor, called a surface fire. The video was captured using a water-cooled glass enclosure developed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology to protect 360° cameras in fires. For more information and additional 360° fire videos visit the 360-Degree Video in Fire Research project webpage. The burn was performed in conjunction with work by researchers from the University of Edinburgh’s Fire Safety Engineering program to study ember generation and transport.

360° video  of a prescribed forest management fire in the New Jersey. (CLICK AND DRAG CURSOR IN VIDEO BELOW TO CHANGE ORIENTATION)

Some of the most useful and compelling information obtained during a fire experiment comes from visual observations. However, the extreme environmental conditions present in a fire necessitate limited access during experiments. Current solutions to collect visual data from fires have largely been limited to two-dimensions, often with a narrow field of view and for limited periods of time; e.g. until the camera is destroyed. High-resolution omnidirectional cameras are rapidly getting smaller, better and cheaper and the 360-degree images and video they capture provide a more immersive viewing experience. However, to use such cameras in a fire, two problems must be solved: how to keep the camera cool and how to protect the camera sensors from the intense thermal radiation given off by a fire.

In a 2018 Engineering Laboratory Exploratory Project, NIST researchers designed, fabricated and tested a transparent, water-cooled enclosure to house various commercial 360-degree cameras to record video from inside a fully-developed fire. We successfully recorded 360-degree video in two compartment fires, including stereo sound inside of a compartment fire in one test. Details about the development and construction of the enclosure are here .

NIST water-cooled camera
NIST water-cooled camera

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

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