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A new Israeli development offers a solution to dangerous situations durings flights where a pilot loses control over the vehicle for a short time. The solution: A smart helmet that can detect when a pilot is about to lose consciousness and take charge of the control systems in the plane until the pilot regains consciousness. Such a situation, known as G-LOC, occurs when strong G-forces drain blood from the brain, causing the pilot to black out as the flight takes off until the plane regains horizontal position.
Such temporary loss of consciousness was the cause of many accidents and disasters around the world, when planes crashed before the pilot had a chance to recover and gain control of the vehicle. Against such situations, and to prevent heavy disasters, Elbit Systems, with sensors by Israeli startup LifeBeam, has developed the smart helmet called the Canary System. Sensors on the helmet monitor the pilot’s medical status during flight and track any change in his condition, while another sensor installed in the forehead monitors oxygen levels, blood pressure and pulse. Once the pilot’s physical condition changes, as he loses consciousness, the system is designed to take control of the vehicle for a few seconds, allowing the pilot to recoup and take back control of the plane. The helmet is also designed to alert once low oxygen levels are measured in the cockpit. In such an event, the pilot can gradually lose control but will not be aware of it – a situations that has claimed lives in the past.
The helmet is planned on becoming operational soon and will be used at first by the Israeli Air Force, but is expected to be used in the future by pilots in commercial flights as well.