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Intelligent PPE system for personnel in high risk and complex environments

Final Report Summary - I-PROTECT (Intelligent PPE system for personnel in high risk and complex environments)

Executive Summary:

This report presents results of research activities focused on the development of a new generation of intelligent personal protective systems dedicated for fire-fighters, mine rescuers and chemical rescuers. The systems address the needs and demands of these target rescuers as they may be exposed to various hazards and high-level risk. The core of the systems includes integration of protective clothing with various sensory modules for real-time monitoring of selected physiological parameters of end-users and monitoring external environment parameters during rescue activities, such as toxic gases, oxygen deficiency and temperature. A crucial and inseparable component of the system is the communication network which ensures that all monitored data related to health status of the end-users as well as to the rescue environment are transmitted wirelessly to the developed Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC), where they are adequately visualized. The integral part of the project also included the development of the use of specific properties of nanomaterials for improvement of functionality and safety of the elements of the system.

All the safety and usability parameters of the new PPE systems were tested in the laboratory conditions prior to field trials performed with human test subjects. The basic aim of the tests was to assess a functioning of each individual element or sub-module as well as protective properties of protective clothing after its integration with the sensors and communication units. Evaluation of the reliability of the integration of each individual system modules were undertaken with regards to end-user’s safety and comfort of use (ergonomics). Moreover, the information displayed in the RCC workstation for the rescue operator was evaluated by the end-users for its legibility and quality.

The interdisciplinary character of the project allows for the achievement of scientific and technological objectives leading to measurable and verifiable prototypes and models i.e.:

1. New design of underwear with embedded newly developed sensor module for monitoring physiological parameters of the end-users joint with monitoring unit and power source,
2. New modular design of environmental sensor module measuring concentration of various selected gases and external temperature,
3. New communication module for wireless transmission of data monitored by the sensor modules,
4. New design of protective clothing for fire-fighters and working clothing for mine rescuers adjusted for integration with environmental sensor modules,
5. Portable station of Rescue Coordination Centre with application for visualization of data from the sensor modules, personal data related to the rescuer and the current status of breathing apparatus,
6. New communication unit (so-called Personal Digital Assistant) responsible for ensuring data transmission between sensor modules and the RCC,
7. Model of fabrics with antielectrostatic properties,
8. Model of conductive paths based on nanomaterials for passing through of an electric current,
9. Model of chemiresistive film based on nanomaterials for detection of toxic gases.

As a result of the project relevant recommendations for further improvement of all developed PPE system elements were defined as well as manufacturing concept was proposed. The project outcomes were disseminated and promoted at various national and international events including conferences, workshops and Trade Fairs for the target end-users: fire-fighter, chemical resuers and mining rescuers.
Project Context and Objectives:
The main objective of i-Protect project was to develop an intelligent personal protective equipment (PPE) system that would ensure active safety and health protection as well as information support for personnel in high risk and complex environments, in particular for chemical rescue teams, fire-fighters and mine rescuers, who are exposed to such factors as fire, explosions, high temperature, dangerous toxic substances, limited visibility, high humidity and a limitation of breathable air.
The overall goal of the project was related to the integration, within the new PPE system, of state-of-the-art materials, optical fibre sensors, gas and temperature detectors, and ICT solutions as well as to the development of innovative materials (based on nanotechnology) and their integration with PPE elements in order to enhance multi-functionality and adaptability. The approach also included ensuring ergonomic design of the new PPE system as well as validation of its functionality, safety, comfort of use and performance level by practical performance tests in conditions simulating real rescue activities.
There were 4 main phases of the project, i.e.: 1) Conceptualization, 2) Technical development and integration, 3) Verification and validation and 4) Dissemination and exploitation.
The 1st phase included one work package - WP1, the 2nd phase included five work packages - WP2, WP3, WP4, WP5 and WP6, while the 3rd and the 4th phases included work packages WP7 and WP8 respectively.
Phase 1 – Conceptualization
Within this phase the activities of WP1: Identification of end-users needs and defining technical requirements were performed and the overall concept of the i-Protect PPE system was elaborated. The project partners specified collectively all technical and usability specifications for multifunctional PPE system for fire-fighters, chemical and mine rescuers. Based on the analysis of the most common and hazardous rescue scenarios as well as needs and demands reported by the representatives of the end-users, who actively participated in the project, relevant variants of the PPE system solutions were proposed. All requirements and needs were collected and analyses, which was the basis for elaboration of guidelines and technical requirements for each separate module as well as for the whole PPE system to be developed within the project.
Phase 2 – Technical development and integration
Within this phase each separate module of the PPE system was developed and then initially integrated to check its compatibility and functionality with the other elements of the system and in order to create a complete homogenous PPE system.
The 1st main component of i-Protect PPE system i.e. module for monitoring heart rate, breathing rate and body temperature was developed within WP2: Sensors for monitoring physiological parameters. The concept of monitoring health status was based on the use of fibre optics. Selected optical fibres were integrated with technical textiles and then with the textile material of the underwear adjusted to the human body. Optical fibres responsible for measurement of the breathing rate react to the movement of the chest of end-user during phase of inhalation and exhalation. Optical fibres responsible for measurement of the body temperature react to changes of the temperature of the body surface.
The first prototypes of the physiological sensor modules were tested for their elasticity and for the performance in various temperatures and humidity. Small portable monitoring units to control the measurements of physiological parameters of the rescuers were designed and developed. These both elements of the physiological sensor module jointly with dedicated power source were integrated with the special underwear dedicated to the project target users.
The 2nd component of i-Protect PPE system i.e. environmental sensor modules for monitoring various toxic gases and external temperature was developed within WP3: Sensors for monitoring environmental parameters. According to the needs specified by end-users the most important gases from the point of view of their occurrence during the rescue activities and toxicity were selected to be measured by the sensor modules: carbon dioxide and monoxide, methane, chlorine, ammonia and hydrogen sulphide. Moreover the detector for measurement of oxygene content was used in order to monitor oxygen deficiency in the breathable air. Sensing properties of detectors chosen from the market were enhanced by the development of dedicated electronic modules. Relevant adjustment/calibration of the sensor modules to correct their functionality in rescue conditions i.e. detection limits and response time were carried out.
A special enclosure for the detectors dedicated to protect the electronic circuits and power source was also developed. The modules were integrated with protective garments textiles by means of placing them in custom-designed pockets.
Four prototypes of environmental sensor modules, including external temperature detector and two chemical detectors, were first calibrated and then delivered for usability evaluation that was carried out within field trials (WP7).
The next modules of i-Protect PPE system were developed within WP4: New materials based on nanotechnology. The main objectives of WP4 was to develop new functionalized carbon nanotubes suitable for application in fabrics in order to elaborate 1) conductive paths and 2) to develop new chemiresistive layers for indication the presence of toxic gases and to develop textile fabrics with anti-electrostatic properties. Studies on preparation and functionalization of carbon nanotubes (CNT) in stable suspensions were carried out. Conductive nanomaterials based on multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) were developed and applied on textile substrates.
Relevant studies and characterization of the electrical responses of the different series of the developed paths were performed. The results showed that generally the conductivity of the paths is reliable i.e. electricity is passing through the paths at high quality.
Experiments on the preparation of functionalized carbon nanotubes stable suspensions for the development of chemoresistive active layers were undertaken. Investigation on the appropriate conductive binder suitable to elaborate the nanostructured gas sensor was also carried out. Electrical characteristics for the developed nanostructured gas sensors were measured together with determination of responses to defined inorganic gases.
Experiments on the preparation of nanometals potentially responsible for anti-electrostatic properties were performed. The anti-electrostatic properties of textiles decorated with nanometals were measured. Prototypes of antielectrostatic fabrics were developed.
A crucial element of the i-Protect PPE system was the communication system network which was developed within WP5: Communication. The aim of WP5 was to ensure reliable communication between all sensory modules as well as in order to control, use and maintain the data collected by the sensors relevant communication sub-modules and units were developed. The heart of the communication module is the unit of PDA responsible for wireless transfer of data between end-users and the Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC). The specific communication unit module (so-called PDA – Personal Digital Assistant) was developed and successfully integrated with standard mobile radio commonly used by the rescuers.
The wireless communication between the sensor modules and the communication module relied on elaborated and adjusted Body Are Network module (BAN).
The communication between the end-user and the RCC was achieved by adaptation and relevant adjustments and reprogramming for the project purpose selected elements of MOTOTRBO communication system offered by MOTOROLA.
The main function of the RCC, apart from ensuring proper data transmission from sensors, was to maintain voice communication between the RCC operator and the end-users and to record, store and display crucial information related to the current health status of each rescuer i.e. heart rate and thermal load based on Physical Strain Index as well as all other information transmitted from sensory modules i.e. the concentration levels of gases, the value of external temperature and the content of breathable air in pressure vessels of breathing apparatus.
The final part of the technical development phase of the project was carried out within WP6: Integration, testing and adjustment. The main objective of WP6 was to ensure the proper integration of all technologies, materials and modules developed within work packages WP2, WP3 and WP5 into one homogenous PPE system.
The integration level of the system was evaluated during laboratory tests where all materials used for protective equipment integrated with sensors and electronic modules were tested for their protective and mechanical properties (protective clothing for fire-fighters and mine-rescuers, suits for chemical rescuers), proper functioning of physiological and environmental sensors, proper operating of communication unit module (when connected with the Rescue Coordination Centre), protective properties as well as comfort of use of the whole PPE system (practical performance tests, thermal comfort). Tests for interconnections of every component and module were carried out. Evaluation based on electronic measurement method i.e. analysing the strength and the spectrum of the electronic signals was applied for the assessment of functionality of physiological sensors integrated with textiles and monitoring unit, environmental sensors, communication unit and all other communication elements of the communication system including the Rescue Coordination Centre.
Based on the achieved results the recommendations for further system improvements were prepared. Samples of textile materials used for manufacturing of protective clothing for fire-fighters, mining and chemical rescuers were tested in laboratory in accordance with the requirements of relevant PPE EN standards. Full assessment of protective and mechanical parameters i.e.: permeation of chemicals through protective clothing after embedding environmental sensor, flame resistance and thermal properties for textiles for protective clothing for fire-fighter garments, anti-electrostatic properties of materials for mine rescuers and total inward leakage for chemical protective clothing were performed. Assessment of functionality and usability parameters included practical performance test with human test subjects.
As a result of the integration activities six prototypes of the PPE system in three versions were developed i.e. two for fire-fighters, two for mine rescuers and two for chemical rescuers. All of these prototypes were integrated with sensory modules and communication system elements. Draft work manuals for end-users of each version of the PPE system were also prepared.
Phase 3 - Verification and validation
All six prototypes of the PPE system were confronted with real conditions within WP7: Verification and validation which constituted the 3rd phase of the project. Verification and validation whether the prototypes of PPE system complies with the specifications and requirements defined on the basis of the target end-users needs and demands within WP1 were carried out by means of field trials. The field trials were performed by professional end-users in specific training chambers and in simulated rescue activities on chemical installations, in the mines and in fire-fighting dedicated constructions respectively.
During the trials the functionality, safety, usability as well as comfort of use (ergonomics) of all three versions of the PPE systems were evaluated by test subjects. Prior to that relevant questionnaires for the PPE system assessment were elaborated. Based on the obtained results adequate recommendations for further improvement of the PPE system including underwear with physiological sensor module, protective clothing with environmental sensor modules as well as reliability of communication between components of the communication system and between end-user and the RCC were elaborated and discussed with the partners.
Recommendations for the improvement of application for data visualization in the RCC as well as usability of the RCC were also defined. Results of system verification and recommendations for the improvement as well as conclusions derived from the integration and adjustment activities performed within WP6 were taken into consideration when developing the principles of manufacturing concept of the complex PPE system of another result of the project.
Phase 4 – Dissemination and exploitation
In parallel to all research activities of the project relevant dissemination and standardization activities were carried out within WP8: Pre-standardization and dissemination of project results. The main objective of WP8 was to formulate strategy for standardization and legislation concerning aspects of the newly developed PPE system and to formulate guidelines for developing pre-normative documents for that system. Dissemination and promotion of the project results were also performed within this work package. Activities corresponding to formulation of the strategy for standardization included initiation and maintenance of contacts with relevant CEN and ISO Technical Committees in order to provide its members with information about the normative aspects of intelligent personal protection system being developed within the project. Representatives of the project partners participated in various meetings of CEN Technical Committees, PPE Sector Forum Workshop and Working Group CEN-CLC BT WG 8 - protective textiles and personal protective clothing and equipment. Based on the gathered information concerning the plans for future standardization in the area of smart protective textiles, personal protective clothing and equipment, as well as taking into account the analysis of the current international legislation (standards, PPE directive), the results of ongoing and completed FP7 projects, recent technological progress in the area of functional textiles and their integration with electronic elements, sensors and ICT solutions all crucial demands related to the improvement of the existing standards or needs for new standards were recognized.
The results of i-Protect project were widely disseminated at various events including sic international and national conferences, two seminars, one workshop and three trade fairs. The outcomes presented at these events included all sensory modules, communication modules and the whole PPE system. The results of i-Protect project were also disseminated at the press conference in Spain. The materials from the press conference were presented in newspapers, radio and TV (articles and emissions). A leaflet containing the information about the project has also been developed and distributed at each of the mentioned dissemination events.

Project Results:
Introduction

Firefighting, chemical rescue as well as mine rescue activities belong to the most physically demanding professions, requiring personnel to carry out a number of high-intensity tasks. All tasks associated with rescue activities are performed in atmospheres with hazardous contaminants which may affect respiratory tracks and/or other parts of the human body. The rescuers are faced with sudden situations where hazards such as direct exposure to flame, high temperature, unknown concentration of various gases, poor, limited or lack of visibility may occur. Another important factor that may negatively influence the working conditions of rescuers is the lack of communication between the rescue team members or between a rescuer and a Command Centre. Firefighting as well as chemical and mine rescue demand significant physical efforts when rescuers are engaged in activities such as carrying a victim rescue from e.g. multi-storey buildings, transportation of equipment of different type and size, pulling a trailer, ladder and stair climbing, opening a stiff valve, carrying fire hose, running out hose reels etc. Therefore assuring a high-level protection of the rescuers by the use of appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) solutions is a fundamental prerequisite for improving the rescuers safety, health and saving their lives.

PPEs currently available on the market and being used by fire-fighters, chemical rescuers and mine rescuers are usually composed of separate, passive elements and modules without proper interconnections and interactions. Sometimes those elements are even not compatible with each other since they are designed to protect the user separately against one defined type of hazard or risk.
The PPEs commonly used by the rescue team members typically include: protective clothing (garments, gas tight suits to be used against chemicals); hand and foot protection (gloves, footwear), and respiratory protective equipment (self-contained breathing apparatus with full face mask as well as separate full face or half mask usually equipped with combined gas filters).
In order to improve safety and health protection of personnel operating in such high risk and complex environments there is a need for modification, improvement and enrichment of the existing PPE solutions by introducing novel technologies and innovative concepts i.e. monitoring of physiological parameters of the user, controlling environmental hazards existing in external atmosphere and monitoring of protective parameters of PPE elements. The crucial issue is also to ensure high level of comfort of these complex and modular PPE solutions. Functionality of currently used PPEs can be significantly increased through careful selection and integration of so-called “intelligent” or smart functional materials (including those based on nanomaterials), sensory modules, wireless communication systems, optical fibers, flexible antennas, new small and flexible power sources etc.
Therefore, the main Scientific and Technological aspects of i-Protect project concerned the concept idea of integration, within the newly created PPE system, of state-of-the-art materials, optical fibre sensors, gas and temperature detectors, advanced wireless communication technologies as well as the development and use of new, nanotechnology-based materials in order to enhance protection level and multi-functionality of PPE system. The project also focused on ensuring that the newly designed PPE system conforms to ergonomic requirements and is evaluated and validated by the users in terms of its safety, comfort of use and performance level during practical performance tests in conditions simulating real rescue activities.
The course of i-Protect project activities was organized in the following 8 interrelated work packages:

WP1: Identification of end-users needs and defining technical, usability and protective requirements for the PPE system and its separate elements
WP2: Development of sensors for monitoring physiological parameters of the end-users
WP3: Development of environmental sensor modules for monitoring concentration levels of toxic gases and external temperature
WP4: Development of new materials with special properties based on nanotechnologies
WP5: Development of efficient communication system ensuring data transfer between developed sensory modules and the Rescue Coordination Centre
WP6: Integration of all developed modules of the new PPE system in order to meet the specifications and the requirements defined by end-users
WP7: Validation that newly developed PPE system is safe and complies with ergonomic and usability requirements as well as ensure appropriate comfort of use
WP8: Pre-standardization and dissemination activities including among others determination of gaps in existing EN standards in relation to the requirements and assessment methods for novel innovative PPE systems

The main Scientific and Technological results (foreground)
All initial activities to the main technical development works were carried out within work package WP1. The main objective of WP1, lead by CIOP-PIB, was to specify protective and usability requirements for developing an innovative PPE system on the basis of analysis of work-related hazards and end-users needs in three target sectors: fire fighting, chemical rescue and mining rescue. The requirements were defined in close collaboration and involvement of representatives of end-users i.e. VFDB, KOMAG, CSRG, and PKN ORLEN. Moreover, involvement of other project partners responsible for the core development of each single module i.e. BAM, Colorobbia, Honeywell, AeroSekur, neoVision, Coalesenses and Tecnalia, helped to collect and analyse the information which was subsequently taken into consideration during technical development activities of the project.
The deliverable produced within WP1 was the report on “Identification of hazards and risks in specified rescue activities” (D1.1.). The report includes the analysis of various scenarios that may occur during hazardous incidents at chemical and petroleum plants as well as fire-fighting and mining rescue operations. The analysis was focused on the recognition of crucial safety factors playing a key role in rescue operations. In the case of chemical rescue activities and fire-fighting, the contamination of toxic substances, high temperature leading to heat stress, limitation in the field of vision and access to breathable air, were highlighted as the most important. Additionally, for fire-fighting direct exposure to flame, fume and water as well as operations in confined spaces with limited visibility were considered as the most dangerous factors. For mining rescue operations, which are frequently carried out in potentially explosive atmosphere, the need for use of the protective clothing with anti-electrostatic properties as well as the need for sensors detecting the concentration of explosive and harmful gases were underlined.
The analysis was carried out in close cooperation with end-users represented by three project partners, i.e. PKN ORLEN (large petrochemical company) – partner responsible for the area of chemical rescue activities, CSRG (Central Mining Rescue Station) – partner responsible for the area of mining rescue activities and VFDB (German Fire Protection Assosiation) – partner responsible for fire fighting. The analysis was carried out by investigations of operational reports from real rescue actions. Additionally TECNALIA (Spanish research and development company) was responsible for risk analysis in the field of fire-fighting and KOMAG (Institute of Mining Technology) dealth with risk analysis in the mining rescue operations.
The final report (D1.1) on identified hazards and risks in specified rescue activities was used as an input for the next task which focused on the preparation of technical requirements and specification for PPE modules and for the whole system.
The second deliverable generated within WP1 was the report on “Specification of end-users needs” (D1.2). The report was also prepared on the basis of the information collected from the end-users representing fire fighters, mining rescuers and chemical rescuers. Data collected during interviews with the end-users in Poland, Germany, France and Spain, was obtained by means of relevant questionnaires on safety aspects of PPE being in use, their comfort and functionality. The report also took account of ideas for improvement and other requirements or needs expressed by the end-users. Then, the information included in this report was used as an input for the preparation of technical requirements and specification for all modules of the PPE system.
The third deliverable of the WP1 was the report on “Technical requirements with integration guidelines for PPE” (D1.3) which contains concrete specifications for developing PPE system prototypes. The technical specification as well as overall concept of the PPE system design were carefully taken into account in technical developments that were to be carried out within WP2, WP3, WP4, WP5 and in integration activities planned within WP6. The study for optimization of PPE system design was carried out in order to verify their modularity, interconnections and interactions (integration) of all PPE system components. The study on possible solutions for integration of physiological and environmental sensors with textiles and/or with other materials as well as with ready-to-use PPE components was carried out by partners responsible for the development of sensory modules i.e. by BAM, neoVision, CIOP-PIB, AeroSekur and Colorobbia.
Some technical requirements for individual modules and the whole system were defined within the WP1 at a certain level of details. For example the exact detection range of environmental sensor modules for toxic gases, accuracy of gas detectors, size and location of the environmental sensor modules, way of integration of optical fibres with textile material etc. could not be specified in details at that stage of the project. All these requirements were subject of further verification and were finally specified in the course of each of technical work packages i.e. within WP2, WP3, WP4 and WP5.
The main scientific and technological results of i-Protect project were obtained within the following work packages: WP2: Sensors for monitoring physiological parameters, WP3: Sensors for monitoring environmental parameters, WP4: New materials based on nanotechnology, WP5:Communication.
The objective of WP2, which was led by BAM with support of Safibra, FIOH, AeroSekur and Orneule, was to develop and integrate sensors for monitoring health status of rescuers, namely heart rate, breathing rate and body temperature. The first step within WP2 was to define specification of the sensors and the sensor unique design which both constituted the contents of Deliverable D2.1. Several possible fibre optic sensing techniques for monitoring of respiratory rate, heart rate and body temperature were investigated:

• Sensors based on optical time-domain reflectometry (OTDR),
• Sensors based on long period gratings (LPG) in microstructured polymer optical fibres (MPOF),
• Sensors based on intensity measurements, and
• Sensors based on fibre Bragg gratings (FBG).

Furthermore first proof-of-concept prototypes of monitoring units were tested and first trials of integrating optical fibres into textiles were made. The results were used to develop the design of the sensors concept.
Relevant solutions based on selected optical fibres (Deliverable D2.2) i.e. LPG MPOF (sensors based on long period gratings in microstructured polymer optical fibres), POF OTDR (sensors based on optical time-domain reflectometry) and Silica FBG (sensors based on fibre Bragg gratings) for the measurement of the respiratory rate and the body temperature had been developed first.
Prototypes of physiological sensors (Deliverable D2.3) were fully characterized for their sensitivity and limits in use within the laboratory tests carried out on a specially designed test facilities. Static and dynamic tests of intensity based sensors and FBG sensors were performed. Test of Silica FBG sensor for measurement of skin temperature was carried out. Functionality tests of combined heart rate and respiratory sensor on different body locations were also performed.
In parallel the prototype of the small portable and robust monitoring unit (Deliverable D2.4) which included hardware and software to control the physiological sensor module, was developed by Safibra. The unit was designed so that it can be used for three different types of sensors: for macrobending sensor, for FBG sensor and for MPF LPG sensor. The unit with FBG and LPG sensor and a wavelength to intensity converter was integrated with the unit. Six samples of monitoring unit were prepared and sent to WP2, WP5 and WP6 partners in order to allow their performers to define of localization of the unit on the underwear, make it possible to perform tests to evaluate the performance of the unit integrated with underwear and physiological sensors as well as to carry out integration tests to evaluate data transmission between the monitoring unit and the other parts of the PPE system.
The selected optical fibres were integrated with the textile material of the underwear by means of special elastic – flexible belt, which constituted the Deliverable D2.5. Then, the belt was embedded into the newly designed underwear (Deliverable D2.6) at a chest level in order to pick up to physiological signals. The locations of the elastic belt were consulted with the end-users. The prototypes of underwear were made of stretchable textile in order to fit to the rescues’ body and were supplied by Orneule Oy and Aero Sekur. As a result the design of underwear with the physiological sensors makes is possible to easily connect and disconnect health status sensors to the monitoring unit.
The underwear prototypes with embedded physiological sensors were fully tested and validated against the usability requirements specified by the end-users. Suitable signal processing and data treatment were performed by Safibra and BAM to manage signal noises and attenuation due to micro-bending of the optical fibres as a result of the integration with the elastic material of the belt. Test and validation of integrated fibre optic sensors and the monitoring units were performed with human test subjects in laboratory conditions under controlled temperature and humidity. The fully characterized and validated underwear with physiological sensor module constituted the Deliverable D2.7 and it was forwarded for integration activities within WP6 and for field trials within WP7.
Taking into account the hazards and risks identified in target rescue activities as well as end-user needs (specified in WP1) the data concerning from heart rate, breathing rate and body temperature was used for the estimation of thermal loading of the end-user. The input data from the physiological sensors was used to calculate the physiological strain index (PSI) – which is a factor adopted to estimate the heat stress of humans.
The objective of WP3, led by CIOP-PIB and with significant involvement of neoVision and CSRG, was to develop and integrate with typical PPE items, the sensor modules for measuring and monitoring environmental parameters, i.e. concentration level of toxic gases: carbon monoxide and dioxide, methane, chlorine, hydrogen sulphide and ammonia, external temperature and concentration level of oxygen. The following combinations of gas sensors were intended for: carbon monoxide and dioxide together with methane and oxygen for mine rescuers; carbon monoxide and dioxide together with hydrogen sulphide and oxygen for fire-fighters; hydrogen sulphide and oxygen together with ammonia and chlorine for chemical rescuers. The activities within WP3 also included a preliminary study on the wireless communication between sensor modules and the communication unit (PDA).
The first result of the WP3 was the Deliverable 3.1 “Report with review of the state-of-the-art of environmental sensors”. Based on the selection of detectors specified in the report as well as taking into consideration technical requirements defined in WP1, the first concept of environmental sensor modules prototypes which included sensor module dimensions was proposed by neoVision. Based on comments and remarks formulated by end-users, the second version of the environmental sensor prototype design (enclosure) was elaborated. It consisted of light weight enclosure made of polymer, the unique electronics (PCB) for detectors controls, integrated Body Area Network - BAN module for wireless data transmission between the sensors and the PDA, power source and other electronics necessary for proper functioning of the sensors.
Finally the prototypes of environmental sensors, which constituted the Deliverable D3.2 were developed, taking into account end-users’ requirements and hazards foreseen in their rescue activities. Each sensor module includes a set of three detectors, i.e.: two chemical detectors and temperature detector for monitoring external temperature. For fire-fighters two types of the environmental sensor modules were manufactured the first included oxygen and hydrogen sulphide detectors and carbon mono and dioxide detectors. For chemical rescuers two other types of environmental sensors were delivered, one containing oxygen and hydrogen sulphide detectors and another with chlorine and ammonia detectors. For mine rescuers also two other environmental sensors were delivered, the first with oxygen and methane detectors, and the second with including carbon mono and dioxide detectors.
Completing the design of the 2nd version of the environmental sensors enclosure made it possible to initiate the activities aimed at the integration of the sensors with textiles of clothing of protective garments in case of fire-fighters and mine rescuers, and with the structure of gas-tight suits in case of chemical rescuers. The enclosure was designed so that it ensures protection of the internal elements of the sensor modules against external factors, such as mechanical impact, thermal overloading etc., which could damage the sensors.
Adequate procedures and test methodology for measuring environmental sensor modules responses to the presence of gases were developed. The sensors were calibrated based on the analysis of the results of a number of tests performed at various temperatures: -20 oC , 0 oC, +25 oC and +40 oC with known concentrations of gases. As a result responses of sensor modules were adjusted to defined concentrations of gases, which were in accordance with specifications and requirements elaborated within WP1 and verified within the initial stage of WP3. The sensors indicated the excess of concentration defined as Maximum Permissible Level for each single toxic gas and the deficiency of oxygen i.e. the concentration below 17% (by volume) in the air.
Appropriate methods for integrating the environmental sensor modules with textiles of the protective or working clothing were proposed respectively. In the case of gas-tight suits the sensor modules were embedded into their structure by a hook of special design joint with the module’s enclosure to be hung on the suit. In the case of fire-fighter’s and mine rescuer’s garments the sensors were placed in the pocket mounted externally on the clothing: on the jacket and on the trousers.
The placement of environmental sensors on the clothing was realized taking into account guidelines specified in the WP1 with regards to aspect of end-user safety, functionality of the sensor module, access to the external atmosphere and ergonomics. The sensors were located at two different parts of the clothing, i.e. at the upper part of the chest and near/under the knee, as proposed by the end-users.
The result of activities related to integration of environmental sensor modules with protective garments constituted the contents of Deliverable D3.3 i.e. three prototypes of clothing for target groups of end-users with embedded environmental sensors.
Complete tests and validation of the newly developed sensor modules under laboratory and simulated real conditions were carried out in WP7.
The pure basic research activities of the project, related to the development of conductive paths, new indicators of end-of-service-life of PPE based on nanomaterials and textile fabrics with anti-electrostatic properties were carried out within WP4, led by Colorobbia with the support of CIOP-PIB and AeroSekur.
In order to develop conductive paths several conductive materials and binders were investigated i.e.: poly-vinyl-pyridine, acrylic, silicon and polyurethane. As conductive material, silver nanoparticles suspension and paste, carbon nanotubes (CNTs), graphite, silicon carbide and cobalt ferrite were used. From selected binders only polyurethane was found to be flexible enough to be applied on larger areas of textile materials. Investigation on the synergy between developed nanomaterials and a binder was carried out. Together with the selection and development of appropriate conductive material relevant activities regarding application technique of substrates were considered. It was showed that the physical properties of CNTs and the composite of CNTs with polyurethane could limit some application methods i.e. ink-jet printing for the use of such substrates in order to prepare conductive paths.
As an alternative the screen printing technique made it possible to apply relevant conductive paths prepared from the composites. Samples characterization was based on the evaluation of the superficial resistivity. Positive results were obtained, especially for paths based on: silver nanoparticles + polyurethane, graphite + polyurethane, silicon carbide + polyurethane, CNTs + polyurethane, silver nanoparticles paste + CNTs + polyurethane and graphite + CNTs + polyurethane. These composite materials, together with relevant technical description, constituted two Deliverables of WP4: D4.1: Functionalized carbon nanotubes and D4.2: Data sheet of optimized suspension for conductive paths.
The composites were applied on textiles commonly used in fire-protection in order to prepare relevant prototypes of textiles decorated with conductive paths (D4.3.). In order to study the flexibility of the conductive paths tests of bending resistance of the prototypes of textiles were carried out. Promising results were obtained up to 2000 cycles of flexing test, when all samples lost their conductive properties. Resistivity values were acceptable after 500 cycles of bending test.
Within the second part of WP4 chemically active thin layers of composites included nanomaterials were developed. These nanobased sensors, which constituted the Deliverable D4.4 were tested in laboratory for the presence of toxic gases i.e. methane, carbon mono and dioxide, chlorine, hydrogen sulphide and ammonia. The results showed that the developed nanobased sensors change their properties due to loading with different inorganic gases. The strongest responses were observed for the sensors loaded with ammonia (change of resistivity from 84 to 97 Ohms) and the weakest for the sensors loaded with carbon dioxide (changes of resistivity from 2 to 6 Ohms). It should be noticed that the presence of different concentrations of oxygen was not detected by all samples of sensors, which is an advantage as it does not influence the response of sensors to other types of gases. The first approach to the development of sensing element was to use a conductive polymer like polyaniline, polypyrrole or polythiophene as base-coating and deposing a CNT array over it. Electrospinning technique was used for the preparation of chemically active samples with emeraldine doped with HCSA (camphorsulfonic acid) and addition of PS. Samples of chemically active layers were deposited from electrospinning machine on various supports i.e. a metallic grid, borosilicate, a circuit connected with two interdigitated gold electrodes. All models of chemically active layers were tested for their electrical properties and appropriate report with the list of characteristics of the developed nano based sensors was prepared (D4.5).
Within other activities of the WP4 nanometals potentially responsible for anti-electrostatic properties were developed and special suspensions were prepared. All technical data related to the nanometal suspension are presented in the Deliverable D4.6.
The anti-electrostatic properties of selected textiles (Zylon, Kevlar, Kevlar-protex) decorated with nanometals suspended in water were measured. Dip-coating technique was selected for anti-electrostatic fabrics development - the fabric was completely immersed in the nanometal suspension. Other treatments included conditioning in high temperature (heating the solution at 105°C) and then dipping the samples into a hot bath. The characterization of samples involved the measurement of superficial and transversal resistivity of treated samples. Resistance to the washing of anti-electrostatic textiles was also tested. It was found out that in case of the treatment with use of nanosilver solutions at high temperature the textiles preserved its anti-electrostatic properties. Moreover the nanosilver suspension made it possible to obtain the best anti-electrostatic properties of the fabrics. The study related to the use of other application of nanometal suspension i.e. spraying method, showed significant limitations leading to insufficient resistivity results of tests of these samples. Another application technique was based on plasma treatment in oxygen as a carrier gas. It was found out that this treatment could lead to a change of superficial resistance of the textile. The results of plasma treatment showed also that this technique did not improve the bonding between silver nano particles and the fabric, so the anti-electrostatic properties of the treated textiles are not preserved.
The knowledge resulting from these research activities focused on the use of nanometal suspension as well as adequate application techniques of those suspension onto the textiles enabling the development of prototypes of fabrics with anti-electrostatic properties which, together with their full characteristic related to electrical resistivity, constituted the Deliverable D4.7.
The crucial element of i-Protect PPE system is the communication. All elements of the communication system were developed within the WP5, led by CIOP-PIB with significant involvement of neoVision and Coalesenses. The aim was to ensure reliable communication between all sensory modules, developed within WP2 and WP3 as well as to select and adjust relevant communication standard for transmission of data and audio signals between rescuers and Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC).
Within the initial part of WP5, based on the analysis of the state-of-the-art elements of communication systems, the relevant subassemblies were selected from commercially available devices, taking into account their compatibility, possibility for further modifications, reprogramming and adjustments for the project purpose. The communication system MOTOTRBO, developed and offered by Motorola, was selected in order to ensure reliable communication within the elements of i-Protect PPE system. Selection was carried out with regards to the subassemblies compliance with technical and usability requirements specified within WP1, in particular special conditions of the module operation, e.g. high temperature, mechanical and chemical resistance, humidity and dust in mines as well as the possibility of handling without special means of transportation. As a result the report with description of the overall design of the whole communication system with detailed specifications for communication between all electronic modules to be elaborated within the project as well as between members of the rescue team and the RCC was prepared (Deliverable 5.1. – System design specification for communication network).
The network architecture and the principles of communication with the RCC were developed taking into account the application of the PPE system in three different environments (mining rescue, fire-fighting and chemical rescue). Wireless communication was applied in order to ensure two-way data transmission on the ground and in the buildings. In the underground (mining rescue actions) the application of additional element so-called the leaky feeder – the element commonly used in underground rescue activities for data transmission, was considered. The prototype of communication network (Deliverable D5.2.) was developed.
Other activities within WP5 were aimed at developing a platform to serve as a body area network (BAN), which created the communication network between environmental and physiological sensors, Angel 2 device of the breathing apparatus and the communication unit. After preparation of the initial concept of a BAN module with selected modem and a power supply, relevant technical specifications for interoperation between BAN interface and microprocessor unit were specified. Research works on the development of radio and controller modules to be integrated with physiological sensor monitoring unit and environmental sensor module, with Angel 2 module of breathing apparatus as well as with MOTOTRBO mobile radio were performed. Prototypes of BAN module (D5.3) which included the interface and microprocessor unit were successfully developed and integrated with monitoring unit of physiological sensor module, environmental sensor module and with MOTOTRBO radio. To test the BAN module resistance to electro-magnetic radiation, initial tests on electro-magnetic conformance were carried out. In parallel to the hardware development, the iSense wireless networking and operating firmware was ported to the BAN module.
Relevant prototypes of communication unit, which constituted the Deliverable D5.4 (so-called PDA – Personal Digital Assistant), including hardware and software were developed. Research activities regarding its adjustment for assuring connectivity with the sensors as well as with the RCC were carried out. The prototype was integrated with Motorola mobile radio – the integral element of the communication system of i-Protect PPE system. The appropriate tests related to data transmission between the module, monitoring unit for physiological sensors, environmental sensors modules and the Rescue Coordination Centre confirmed that the data is properly transmitted wirelessly. The prototypes of communication unit, including BAN module integrated onto the PCB of the PDA, were delivered for field trials with end-users (carried out within WP7).
Supervision over the rescue activities with regards to monitoring and controlling the current health status of the rescuers as well as the environmental condition of the rescue atmosphere i.e. temperature and concentration of toxic gases plays a crucial role during the rescue.
Within WP5 the prototype of the portable Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) unit was developed (D5.5). The RCC unit, that consist of the following elements of communication system: repeater, duplexer, portable and mobile radios and antenna after relevant adjustments and reprogramming for the project purpose, was developed. The heart of the RCC unit was a notebook computer with newly developed software for recording, storing and displaying all the data transmitted from the sensors i.e. heart rate, body temperature and Physical Strain Index, presenting the current thermal load of the end-user. The software displays also concentration levels of defined gases, external temperature and content of breathable air inside the pressure vessel of the breathing apparatus. The concept of data visualization was developed with support of end-users: PKN ORLEN and CSRG. The visualization was assessed during practical performance tests in laboratory conditions as well as within the field trials carried out within WP6 and WP7 respectively.
Within the course of WP5 specific studies focused on the initial integration of communication elements were performed. Those activities were related to the adjustment of the communication elements and sub-assemblies (including communication network elements, communication unit, power supply and the RCC), leading to the development of properly working, functioning and ready for testing i-Protect PPE system. Integration activities were completed by selection and adjustment of a special case for carrying/handling of all communication elements.
The prototypes of integrated communication elements (D5.6) including communication network, communication hardware and software, together with BAN module integrated with monitoring unit of physiological sensor modules, environmental sensor modules and Angel 2 module as well as with the communication unit (PDA) were delivered for further functionality and usability assessment within the practical performance tests in laboratory conditions as well as within the field trials carried out within WP6 and WP7 respectively.
Moreover, the integrated and adjusted elements of the whole communication system were initially tested for reliability of data transmission in underground conditions. Relevant tests of communication system, additionally equipped with optical fibre, were performed in conditions existing in mines i.e. strongly confined spaces and narrow areas. The aim was to appropriately adjust the communication system to the needs of mine rescuers since the use of wireless data transmission underground is very limited. It is recommended to carry out further research activities aimed at achieving a functional communication system for data transmission in underground conditions.
The activities related to the integration of all technologies, materials and modules already developed in work packages WP2, WP3 and WP5 were carried out within WP6: Integration, testing and adjustment, led by Tecnalia with the support of CIOP-PIB, BAM, Colorobbia, IBV, Honeywell, AeroSekur, Coalesenses, neoVision and Orneule Oy.
The goal was to check all physical interconnections of the developed modules, as well as their interoperability, functionality and reliability of data transfer. The scope of WP6 included performing laboratory tests of materials used for protective equipment integrated with sensors and electronic modules in order to assess protective and mechanical properties of modified textiles (i.e. protective clothing materials after incorporating sensors), proper functioning of physiological and environmental sensors, proper operating of communication unit module (in conjunction with Rescue Coordination Centre) as well as protective properties of the whole i-Protect PPE system and comfort of use of the whole PPE system (practical performance tests, thermal comfort).
A detailed specification with identification of all i-Protect PPE system components, elements, subsystems, prototypes was prepared in order to easily manage all the parts of the PPE system and tracking all tests to be carried out. The evaluation was based on electronic measurement methods using both conventional measurement equipment (oscilloscopes, signal generators) and specific spectrum and signal quality analyzers, covering the frequency range and power level according to technical specifications established in WP1. The assessment of integration of all respective modules and sensors was carried out on the basis of technical specifications defined in WP1.

Tests performed within the WP6 included:

- Verification of the electrical connections between subsystems, modules and components,
- Verification of the behaviour and quality of the wireless communication within the BAN network,
- Verification and validation of the functionality of the communication protocols among the different subsystems, modules and components;
- Validation of the functionalities of software applications and synchronization procedures among the different subsystems, modules and components.

The results of the assessment showed that the elements of the i-Protect system analyzed by Tecnalia worked as expected i.e. met the requirements specified within WP1 and then verified within WP2, WP3 and WP5.
The communication and configuration of subsystems and the data acquisition and representation of subsystems provided the expected overall functionalities. Even when some protocols and implementations reported were not fully compliant with the initial specification of i-Protect PPE system, expected functionalities were provided by alternative solutions enabling the system to fulfil the expected functionality. In case of environmental sensors module it was assumed that the output readings of the sensors were correct.
Functionality and usability of physiological sensor module were also confirmed.
In case of communication unit integrated with MOTOTRBO mobile radio it was observed that although the radio operated well in open field (relevant range of strong signal), the signal decreased when the radio was installed in the protective clothing. The USB dongle detected most of the devices (intermittent communications with physiological module), but some were not displayed in the RCC software. This fact confirmed that wireless communication between MOTOTRBO and devices was sometimes limited, due to partial degradation or exhaust of power sources in the radio and/or integration of the communication unit module (PDA) inside the MOTOTRBO mobile radio decreased the network coverage due to shielding of the signal.
Based on the results of the assessment the report with recommendations for PPE system integration improvement (D6.1) was prepared. Some of the recommendations were taken into account within the activities related to the development of manufacturing concept carried out within WP7.
Within WP6 relevant laboratory tests for the evaluation of the protective and mechanical properties as well as comfort of use of prototypes developed within WP2, WP3 and WP5 and after their integration within WP6 were performed.
Samples of materials used for the development of protective clothing for fire-fighters, working clothing for mine rescuers and gas-tight suit for chemical rescuers were tested for:

• Permeation of chemicals through protective clothing after embedding environmental sensor,
• Flame resistance and thermal properties for textiles for protective clothing for fire-fighter garments,
• Anti-electrostatic properties of materials for mine rescuers.

The functionality assessment of the prototypes of protective garment for fire-fighters, working garment for mine rescuers and gas-tight suit for chemical rescuers was carried out within practical performance tests and thermal comfort tests. The thermal comfort tests included the use of prototypes of the underwear integrated with physiological sensors.
Moreover, the total inward leakage test for chemical protective clothing (gas-tight suit) was performed before and after the field trials with end-users.
For tests of parameters characterizing the resistance of protective clothing materials to liquid chemicals to which end-users may be exposed (permeation tests), quantitative and qualitative gas chromatographic techniques were used. The resistance to permeation by chemicals through the barrier material was determined. The tested parameter - breakthrough time - was defined as the time „elapsing from the moment of contact of the tested material sample with the chemical to the moment when the substances appears on the other side of the material at a rate specified in the standard”.
Resistance to radiant heat (test method for protective clothing based on EN ISO 6942:2002 standard) and resistance to convective heat (test method for protective clothing based on EN 367 standard) for textiles were performed.
To assess the anti-electrostatic properties of protective garments and textile materials the test method in accordance with the appropriate part of EN 1149 standard was used. During the tests measurements of the rate of dissipation of electrostatic charge of garment materials were carried out.
Leak tightness of chemical protective clothing was assessed during inward leakage test. This laboratory test was performed with human test subjects. The aim was to determine whether there was a leakage of test aerosol inside the gas-tight suit. Test method according to EN 13274-1 standard was used.
Practical performance tests in laboratory were carried out with human test subjects. Exercises were carried out according to EN 13274-2 standard. Test subjects performed a set of tests with use of treadmill (walking), training gallery with defined height (crawling), latter (climbing) and work machine (loading test). During the tests, test subjects subjectively assessed comfort of use of the PPE system prototypes.
i-Protect PPE system including protective clothing with respiratory protective equipment – SCBA and separately underwear with integrated optical fibres were tested for thermal comfort. These non-destructive tests were carried out by IBV in order to check whether the newly developed PPE system did not increase the level of the thermal load of the end-user.
The results of all laboratory tests related to the assessment of protective and mechanical properties as well as functionality parameters were collected in the report which constituted the Deliverable D6.2. The results showed that:

• The materials of the developed prototypes of protective clothing i.e. protective garment for fire-fighters and gas-tight suit for chemical rescuers, after embedding environmental sensor were resistant to permeation of inorganic chemicals, resistant to mechanical damage and flame and heat resistant,
• The materials of the developed prototypes of garments for mine rescuers, after embedding environmental sensor were resistant to mechanical damage and flame and heat resistant as well as were anti-electrostatic,
• The prototypes of gas-tight suit for chemical rescuers after embedding the environmental sensors are leak tight also after the field trials,
• The prototypes of fire-fighter’ protective garments, mine rescuer’ garment and chemical rescuer’ gas-tight suit were functional and comfortable under laboratory conditions,
• The prototypes of fire-fighter’ protective garments, mine rescuer’ garment and chemical rescuer’ gas-tight suit together with the prototypes of underwear with physiological sensors did not increase the thermal load of the end-user in laboratory conditions.

Within WP6 the physical assembly and full integration of different modules and materials in order to build the different versions of prototypes of i-Protect PPE system for three target groups were performed.
Three sets of the complete prototypes of the PPE systems (D6.3) i.e. two for each target group of end-users, were prepared and included:

• for fire-fighters: two prototypes of protective garments, both integrated with a set of two environmental sensor modules, five prototypes of underwear, two prototypes of physiological sensor modules, two breathing apparatus with Angel 2 module integrated with BAN module
• for mine rescuers: two prototypes of garment, both integrated with a set of two environmental sensor modules, five prototypes of underwear, two prototypes of physiological sensor modules, two breathing apparatus with Angel 2 module integrated with BAN module
• for chemical rescuers: two prototypes of gas-tight suit, both integrated with a set of two environmental sensor modules, five prototypes of underwear, two prototypes of physiological sensor modules, two breathing apparatus with Angel 2 module integrated with BAN module.

Each set included the separate Rescue Coordination Centre with the software for data visualization adjusted to the needs of each group of end-users.

For all complete prototypes relevant calibration and adjustment activities were carried out. A set of laboratory tests carried out on each system were performed in order to:

• optimize operating parameters,
• maximize response and reliability of electronic & wireless modules,
• improve the overall performance of PPE prototypes.

Specific tests were conducted to evaluate data transmission and possible interferences between each separate prototype and the Rescue Command Centre (RCC), work duration and charge duration of the whole system, distance of operating, quality and quantity of data transmitted from the system to RCC. Each calibrated prototype was delivered for field trials to be carried out within WP7.
Draft versions of manuals (D6.4.) describing the basic installation, operation, maintenance and safety instructions of each version of the PPE system prototype were provided.
All three prototypes of the PPE systems were verified within WP7: Verification and validation, led by IBV with the support of CIOP-PIB, BAM, KOMAG, Tecnalia, Honeywell, VFDB, AeroSekur, Coalesenses, neoVision, PKN ORLEN and CSRG.
Verification and validation whether the prototypes of PPE system comply with the specifications and requirements defined on the basis of the target end-users needs and demands within WP1 were carried out within the field trials. The field trials were performed by professional end-users in specific training chambers and in simulated rescue activities on chemical installations, in the mines and in fire-fighting constructions respectively.
Assessment of functionality, ergonomics and usability parameters of newly developed PPE systems was performed mainly with respect to the evaluation of protecting clothing for fire-fighters, garment for mine rescuers and gas-tight suit for chemical rescuers, all with embedded environmental sensors modules and communication unit, as well as for underwear with embedded physiological sensor module, together with monitoring unit and the power source. Moreover, functionality and usability evaluation of communication network in conjunction with Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) was undertaken.

The field trials were carried out by:

• mine rescuers in Poland (CSRG S.A. Bytom, KOMAG, Gliwice) and in Spain (Brigada de Salvamento Minero, Langreo),
• chemical rescuers in Poland (PKN ORLEN, Płock) and in Spain (Kinbauri, Belmonte De Miranda, Chemical Plant),
• fire-fighters in Germany (VFDB, Bochum) and in Spain (Sueskola Foundation facilities in Basque Country, Ortizia).

For the field trials purpose IBV sumbitted the relevant information for the approval of the Ethics Committee of the Universidad Politecnica de Valencia and obtained its approval.
According to the developed assessment procedure, the activities were divided into two types of tests: common tests and operational tests. All tests were performed in scenarios that closely simulated real rescue activities with respect to the operational requirements (conditions) of the target end-users’ sectors. By means of developed questionnaires the validation of all technologies implemented in the complete PPE systems was performed. The questionnaires consisted of a series of questions in different panels related to the assessment of thermal comfort, ease of donning and doffing of the PPE systems’ elements, ease of walking, crawling, weight of the clothing and other parameters, including the usability of RCC application for visualization of data from sensors.
All the results of field trials were included in the report (D7.1) where functionality parameters of communication network in conjunction with the RCC as well as usability parameters related to the grade of difficulty to carry out rescue activities were precisely described. The results were prepared separately for each target group of end-users and in general confirmed proper functioning of each single element of the PPE system. In the case of evaluation of the usability parameters of the PPE system some minor imperfections related to wireless data transmission from the environmental sensor modules and physiological sensor module to the RCC were noticed.
The report included the results of the evaluation of the comfort of use for newly developed prototypes of the PPE system. Thermal comfort, influence of the size of the PPE, localization of the embedded sensors, weight of the clothing, design of the underwear were investigated.
Based on the results of field trials the recommendations for further improvement of defined elements and sub-modules, as well as the whole PPE system, including underwear with physiological sensor module, protective clothing with environmental sensor modules as well as reliability of communication between each single component of the communication system and between end-users and the RCC were prepared.
Taking into account the remarks and comments provided by professional end-users who participated in field trials, the recommendations for improvement of the underwear design as well as its integration with physiological sensors module were specified. In the case of protective clothing with embedded environmental sensors adequate requirements regarding the localization of the sensors as well as the comfort of use of the clothing were proposed. Detailed recommendations for the improvement of environmental sensors module, together with communication unit functionality were defined as these two elements are the core of each of the developed three PPE systems. Moreover, relevant expectations regarding the form and the type of the information displayed by RCC application were defined. Proposed recommendations were generally related to the improvement of usability and functionality of the underwear and the sensors modules, while the comfort of use of protective clothing was assessed positively.
Recommendations for the improvement of elements and sub-modules of the system as well as the whole PPE system were delivered in the form of a report (D7.2.).
Based on the results of WP1, WP2, WP3, WP5, WP6 the report with principles of manufacturing concept for developed PPE system (D7.3) was prepared.
The developed concept of manufacturing included: the idea of PPE system production to customer specification, proposals related to requirements for final product testing and verification, maintenance and storage requirements, estimation of total price and issues related to quality assessment of the final product. The concept idea is to enable fast re-equipping as well as flexible installation of all elements, sub-modules, sub-assemblies or accessories required by customer (e.g. specified environmental sensors) before the beginning of the production. Requests from customers will be realized with respect to the type of protective clothing and embedded modules for different applications.
In parallel to all research activities of the project, relevant dissemination and standardization activities were carried out within WP8: Pre-standardization and dissemination of project results, led by FIOH and with the support of all the project partners. The main objective of WP8 was to formulate strategy for standardization/legislation concerning aspects of the newly developed PPE system and to formulate guidelines for developing pre-normative documents for that system. Activities related to the dissemination and promotion of project results were also carried out within this work package.
The activities aimed at the formulation of the strategy for standardization included initiation and maintenance of contacts with relevant CEN and ISO Technical Committees in order to provide its members with information about the intelligent personal protection system being developed within the project. Representatives of the project partners participated in various meetings of CEN Technical Committees, PPE Sector Forum Workshop and Working Group CEN-CLC BT WG 8 - protective textiles and personal protective clothing and equipment. Based on the collected information on the program for standardization in the area of smart protective textiles, personal protective clothing and equipment as well as taking into account the analysis of the current international legislation (standard, PPE directive), results of ongoing and completed FP7 projects, recent technological progress in the area of functional textiles and their integration with electronic elements, sensors and ICT solutions all crucial requirements related to the improvement of the existing standards or needs for new standards were recognized.
The crucial issues to be taken into account during the development of new standard requirements, related to compatibility of different elements of intelligent PPE systems, integrated with commonly used protective equipment as well as the evaluation criteria of their ergonomics and comfort of use were specified. Legislation and standardization strategy that included the activities to be undertaken within the existing CEN/ISO TCs in the field of textiles, protective clothing and equipment integrated with electronics and ICT solutions were formulated. The strategy is based on close cooperation between relevant CEN and/or ISO Technical Committees, especially with Joined Working Groups. The intention of such cooperation is to facilitate the creation of new standards and interoperability initiatives for new PPE system.
The results of i-Protect project were disseminated at various events including six international and national conferences, two seminars, two workshops and three trade fairs. The presented outcomes included all developed sensory modules, communication elements and the whole PPE system. The results of i-Protect project were also disseminated at a press conference. The materials from the press conference were presented in newspapers, radio and TV. A leaflet containing the information on the project has also been developed and distributed at each of the mentioned dissemination events.

Potential Impact:

The potential impact
The objective of the project was to develop an innovative and intelligent PPE system that would ensure increased protection of professional rescuers working in high risk and complex environments, in particular chemical rescue teams, mine rescue teams and fire-fighters.
The project results have short and long term impact in the following areas:
- Safety of the European citizens,
- European research in the field of industrial safety and occupational safety and health,
- European regulations and standards related to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE),
- European market in the field of advanced technologies.

The project outcomes include tangible number of deliverables and the less tangible knowledge and experience gathered by all the project partners within the course of the project. These outcomes should be considered as having direct and indirect societal impact especially, among others, on the workplace safety of the rescuers during rescue activities. Performance and functions of the newly developed PPE system will improve the quality and the effectiveness of rescue operations carried out by rescuers, both individually and in organized teams. More effective operations and the higher protection level provided for the rescuers, including direct supervision of rescue team members, will indirectly stipulate the safety of European citizens. Experience of rescuers with the novel and complex PPE systems will increase also their personal knowledge and skills related to the use of advanced technologies, efficient communication systems as well as sensors monitoring physiological and environmental parameters.
All elaborated technologies and technical solutions contribute to the enrichment of European research area in the field of industrial safety and occupational safety and health. The development of new PPE solutions to be used in complex working environment with various risk factors that include limited visibility, lack of communication, possibility of a sudden change in situation, changes in the quantity of dangerous chemical substances, manoeuvring in confined spaces with limited access to breathable air, requires efficient cooperation between various research institution and industrial companies including small and medium enterprises. The joint mobilisation of human and material resources to overcome structural barriers i.e. limited research activities and/or financial potential of the stakeholders makes it possible to perform collectively all technical activities in order to develop a functional PPE system for effective protection against multi-factorial risks. Moreover, the exchange of scientific knowledge between the project partners has an influence on strengthening partnership leading to increase in number of joint project concepts or non-formal activities related to research focused on further improvement of various technologies and/or materials. During the course of
i-Protect two new project proposals for FP7 programme were submitted by selected partners of the project.
End-users involvement in the crucial stages of the project generated new knowledge on end-users needs and technical possibilities of manufacturers to fulfil them, bridging the knowledge gap for the benefit not only of both parties, but also for research community.
The deliverables of the project opened up new possibilities for translating the basic requirements of PPE Directive (89/686/EEC) into EN standards or consider these new development during the foreseen revision of PPE directive.
Moreover, dissemination activities made it possible to acquaint the higher number of rescue professionals with new development in safety solutions, namely intelligent PPE.

Main dissemination activities

The results of i-Protect project were disseminated among others at the event supported by the European Commission DG for Research & Innovation – Industrial Technologies 2012: integrating nano, materials and production, which was organized in Aarhus (Denmark) on 19-21 June 2012.
i-Protect was among 85 exhibitors the Technology Area: innovative companies, leading research organizations, other EU-projects disseminating their work, European institutions, associations and initiatives. The presented outcomes included: sensors for monitoring physiological parameters, sensors for monitoring environmental parameters as well as communication unit. i-Protect project was also part of the presentation at one of the Congress Workshops - SafeFuture - Roadmap for the Innovation and R&D on Industrial Safety. The project results were among the examples included in the presentation “Smart Personal Protective Equipments and Smart Working Environments in the context of the European Factory of the Future”. The results of i-Protect were also presented at 10th International Exhibition of Fire and Rescue Technique EDURA, Kielce (Poland) on 12-14 June 2013. i-Protect was among 166 exhibitors. The presented outcome included the whole functioning prototype of the PPE system dedicated for chemical rescuers.
Moreover the results of i-Protect were presented at the following events:
• EU-OSHA Network day, 6 November 2009, Bilbao, Spain (Jesús López de Ipiña, Tecnalia);
• 5th General Assembly of European Technology Platform on Industrial Safety, 18-19 May 2010, Prague, Czech Republic (Piotr Pietrowski, Daniel Podgórski, CIOP-PIB);
• 7FP National Contact Point Information Day: NMP, Energy, Euratom, 23 June 2010, Warsaw, Poland (Daniel Podgórski, CIOP-PIB);
• E-MRS (European Materials Research Society) 2010 Fall Meeting, 13-17 September 2010, Warsaw, Poland (Daniel Podgórski, CIOP-PIB);
• PPE 2011 Conference, 1-2 February 2011, Brussels, Belgium (Daniel Podgórski, CIOP-PIB, Jesús M. Lz. de Ipiña, Tecnalia);
• IV Congreso de Prevención de Riesgos Laborales de Castilla y León (IV Congress on Safety and Health at Work in Castilla and León), 8 - 9 March 2011, León, Spain (Jesús M. Lz. de Ipiña, Tecnalia);
• European Technology Platform on Industrial Safety – General Assembly, 10 March 2011, Brussels, Belgium (Daniel Podgorski, CIOP-PIB, Jesús M. Lz. de Ipiña, Tecnalia);
• I+D en Seguridad Industrial. Jornada conjunta de las Plataformas Tecnológicas Españolas (R&D on Industrial Safety. Spanish Technology Platforms Joint Event), 18 March 2011, Ministry of Industry, Madrid, Spain (Jesús M. Lz. de Ipiña, TECNALIA.
• BioPhotonics Workshop 2011, 8-10 June 2011, Parma, Italy (Katrina Krebber, BAM, Jaroslav Demuth, Ladislav Šašek, Safibra),
• 20th International Conference on Plastic Optical Fibers, 14-16 September 2011, Bilbao, Spain (Jens Witt, Marcus Schukar, Katrina Krebber, BAM, Jaroslav Demuth, Ladislav Šašek, Safibra),
• POF Conference 2011, 13-17 September 2011, Bilbao, Spain (Jens Witt, Marcus Katrina Krebber, BAM),
• Meeting about fiber optic sensors, 29 September – 05 October 2011, St. Gallen, Swiss,
• PPE Seminar 2012, 24-26 January 2012, Saariselkä Finland (Helena Makinen, FIOH),
• 5th ECPC conference, Future of Protective Clothing, Intelligent or Not, 29-31 May 2012, Valencia, Spain – 3 presentations (1 - Helena Makinen, FIOH, Piotr Pietrowski CIOP-PIB, 2 – Piotr Pietrowski, CIOP-PIB, 3 - Jesús M. López de Ipiña, David Ramos, TECNALIA),
• 4th European Conference on standardization, testing and certification in the field of occupational safety and health (EUROSHNET), 26-28 June 2012, Helsinki (Espoo), Finland (Piotr Pietrowski, Daniel Podgórski, CIOP-PIB),
• NIVA course "A holistic approach to well-being among security workers" 3-6 September 2012, Emergency Services College, Kuopio, Finland (Helena Makinen, FIOH),
• Seminar connected to Safety and Security exhibition on intelligent PPE, 5-7 September 2012, (Helena Makinen, FIOH),
• 21th International Conference on Plastic Optical Fibers,
10-12 September 2012, Atlanta, USA (Jens Witt, Marcus Schukar, Katrina Krebber, BAM, Jaroslav Demuth, Hana Pažoutová , Ladislav Šašek, Safibra, Nicola Santostefano, Lorenzo Fiore, AeroSekur, Jyrki Uotila, Orneule Oy, Piotr Pietrowski CIOP-PIB),
• 6th International Conference Working on Safety - Towards Safety Through Advanced Solutions, 11-14 September, Sopot, Poland (Piotr Pietrowski, Daniel Podgórski,
CIOP-PIB, Jesús M. López de Ipiña, TECNALIA),
• 10th Joint International Conference CLOTECH 2012, 20-21 September, Warsaw, Poland (Piotr Pietrowski, CIOP-PIB),
• II Warsztaty Ratownicze (The 2nd Rescue Workshop), 12-14 June 2013, Ustroń, Poland (Piotr Pietrowski, CIOP-PIB, Adam Szadurski, CSRG).
Furthermore, the project was disseminated in the Spanish, Polish and pan European media (press, TV) i.e.: EFE TV (communication agency), Atlas (producing both Cuatro and Tele 5 national Spanish televisions), Antena 3 (national Spanish television), TVE 1 (main national Spanish television), La Sexta (national Spanish television), ETB (Basque regional television), Goiena Telebista (Basque local television), Vasco Journal (Gipuzkoa leading Basque newspaper), Hitza (local Basque newspaper), Polska Dziennik Zachodni (regional Polish newspaper), Science and Technology (European magazine).

Exploitable results in i-Protect project

In order to ensure the worldwide protection for the results of i-Protect project the two steps strategy will be undertaken. The first step in obtaining the design protection for the results of the project will be a national registration in the country of the beneficiary who developed the design. The procedure of obtaining protection for the design developed by the beneficiary will depend on the country of origin of this beneficiary. Nevertheless, this national registration will be a priority application on the basis of which, within 6-months from its filing date, the territorial protection of the design will be extended to other countries, which will constitute the second step of i-Protect project results protection. In the second step the protection will be expanded to the selected countries worldwide by registering a Community design in the territory of the European Union and national designs in other non-European counties. The procedure of registering design in other non-European countries will mostly depend on the rules of law applicable in each such country.
The exploitable results of i-Protect project are the following:

• Physiological sensor module based on optical fibers with monitoring unit. First co-authorized: Safibra. Unfortunately the principle of operation of the sensor module was already disclosed, so in that respect the requirement of novelty is not met. However, it was indicated that method of processing of the signals was not disclosed and hence it is possible that there is a potential for patent application therein. Naturally, the state-of-the-art was not examined hence it would be advisable to perform the search for documents eliminating novelty, prior to the application. Proposed type of protection: Inventive Project – Utility model.
• Underwear to be integrated with physiological sensor module. First co-authorized: AeroSekur. In this case if a particular embroidery of the optical fibres is significantly advantageous in the view of the obtained effect or the integration with underwear, the requirements of novelty and inventive steps still may be met. Proposed type of protection: Inventive Project – Utility model or Design.
• Environmental sensor module. First co-authorized: neoVision. Proposed type of protection: Design.
• Gas sensor based on nanomaterials. First co-authorized: Colorobbia. Proposed type of protection: Inventive Project – Patent or Utility model.
• Body Area Network. First co-authorized: Coalesenses. Proposed type of protection: Inventive Project – Utility model.
• Communication unit (PDA). First co-authorized: neoVision. Proposed type of protection: Inventive Project – Utility model.
• PPE system (3 systems for different end-users). First co-authorized: CIOP-PIB. Proposed type of protection: Design.
• RCC interface (application and visualization). First co-authorized: neoVision. Proposed type of protection: Design.
• Antielectrostatic textiles based on nanomaterials. First co-authorized: Colorobbia. Proposed type of protection: Inventive Project – Patent. Needs for further research and development.
• Textiles with conductive paths based on nanomaterials. First co-authorized: Colorobbia. Proposed type of protection: Inventive Project – Patent. Needs for further research and development.

List of Websites:
The project contact details and partners:

1. CIOP-PIB
Dr. Piotr Pietrowski
Head of Respiratory Protection Laboratory
Department of Personal Protective Equipment, Central Institute for Labour Protection - National Research Institute (CIOP-PIB)
Czerniakowska 16, 00-701 Warsaw, Poland
phone: + 48 42 648 02 23; fax: + 48 42 678 19 15
e-mail: pipie@ciop.lodz.pl

Katarzyna Buszkiewicz-Seferyńska
International Cooperation Division, Central Institute for Labour Protection - National Research Institute (CIOP-PIB)
Czerniakowska 16, 00-701 Warsaw, Poland
phone: + 48 22 623 36 78; fax: + 48 22 840 08 11
e-mail: kabus@ciop.pl

Dr. Daniel Podgórski
Deputy director for management systems and certification, Central Institute for Labour Protection - National Research Institute (CIOP-PIB)
Czerniakowska 16 00-701 Warsaw, Poland
phone: + 48 22 623 36 99; fax: + 48 22 623 36 95
e-mail: dapod@ciop.pl

2. BAM Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und –prüfung Unter den Eichen 44-46, D - 12203 Berlin, Germany
Katerina Krebber, katerina.krebber@bam.de +49 30 8104 19 15
Jens Witt, jens.witt@bam.de +49 30 8104 35 88
Marcus Schukar, marcus.schukar@bam.de +49 30 8104 35 81

3. Colorobbia Italia S.p.A Italy Via Pietramarina, 123, 50053 SOVIGLIANA, Vinci (FI), Italy
Giovanni Baldi, baldig@colorobbia.it +39 0571 709 758, +30 3357 122 803
Filippo Mazzantini, mazzantinif@colorobbia.it +39 0571 709 705

4. Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (FIOH) Topeliuksenkatu 41 aA, FI-00250 Helsinki, Finland
Helena Mäkinen, helena.makinen@ttl.fi +35 8304 742 764

5. Instituto de Biomecánica de Valencia (IBV) Universidad Politécnica de Valencia - Edificio 9C, Camino de Vera s/n, E-46022 Valencia, Spain
Alfonso Oltra, alfonso.oltra@ibv.upv.es +34 963 879 160, +34 963 877 007 (Ext. 81424)
Paola Piqueras, paola.piqueras@ibv.upv.es +34 963 879 160

6. Instytut Techniki Górniczej KOMAG ul. Pszczyńska 37, 44-101 Gliwice, Poland
Teodor Winkler, twinkler@komag.eu +48 32 2374553
Dariusz Michalak, dmichalak@komag.eu +48 32 2374362
Marek Dudek, mdudek@komag.eu +48 32 2374362

7. Tecnalia Research and Innovation, P.T. Alava – C/ Leonardo Da Vinci, 11, 01510 Minano (Álava) - Spain
Jesús Ma López de Ipina Pena, jesus.lopezdeipina@tecnalia.com +34 671 76 69 76
Oscar Muñoz, oscar.munoz@tecnalia.com +34 946 43 08 50

8. Honeywell Safety Products France SAS, Z.I. Paris Nord II, Immeuble EDISON, 33, Rue des Vanesses, 93420 VILLEPINTE, France
Sébastien Allemand, Sebastien.Allemand@Honeywell.com +33 3 23 96 50 97, +33 6 84 53 39 64

9. Vereinigung zur Förderung des Deutschen Brandschutzes e.V. (VFDB) Auf dem Büld 23, 59510 Lippetal, Germany
Dirk Oberhagemann, info@vfdb.de +49 2923/65191, +49 174/3901765

10. Safibra Cernokostelecka 1621, 25101 Ricany, Czech Republic
Ladislav Sasek, Ladislav.sasek@safibra.cz +420 323 601615, +420 602 684967
Jaroslav Demuth, jaroslav.demuth@safibra.cz +420 323 601615

11. Aero Sekur S.p.A via delle Valli, 46 - 04011, Aprilia (LT), Italy
Lorenzo Fiore, fiore@sekur.it +39 0692016683
Nicola Santostefano, santostefano@sekur.it +39 06 92016219

12. Coalesenses GmbH Maria-Goeppert-Str. 1, 23562 Lübeck, Germany
Carsten Buschmann, buschmann@coalesenses.com +49 151 10741396

13. neoVision Sławomir Zwolenik Jaśminowa 11, 91488 Łódź, Poland
Sławomir Zwolenik, zwolenik@greenp.eu +48 501 043 511
Remigiusz Danych, danych@greenp.eu +48 602 257 512
Bartosz Ostrowski, bostrow@greenp.eu +48 604 582 103

14. Polski Koncern Naftowy Orlen S.A. (PKN ORLEN) ul. Chemików 7, 09-411 Płock, Poland
Jerzy Knobelsdorf, jerzy.knobelsdorf@orlen.pl +48 24 256 93 52

15. Central Mining Rescue Station (CSRG) ul. Chorzowska 25, 41-902 Bytom
Mirosław Bagiński, mbaginski@csrg.bytom.pl +48 32 388 05 20
Adam Szadurski, a.szadurski@csrg.bytom.pl +48 32 388 05 41

16. Orneule Oy Neuletie 3, 35300 Orivesi, Finland
Jyrki Uotila, jyrki.uotila@orneule.fi +358 33 58 99 00, +358 400 255 600