HeadSLAM helps you navigate imaginary smoke in well-lit corridors

Ever crawl your way through a smoke-filled corridor to save the life of someone trapped in a burning building? If yes, much respect! If no, us neither, but if ever we do hopefully it's after donning this piece of headgear currently under development by two researchers in Germany. Two students (rockers both, no doubt) have created HeadSLAM, a helmet that uses an infrared laser-scanner to penetrate the haze and map out surroundings as its wearer wanders, correcting for inertial disturbances created by the loping, unsteady walk of a bipedal organism, shown in a thrilling demonstration video after the break. It's all very much a prototype at this point (evidenced by the "hardhat festooned with shipping tape" design), and the laptop tether is a bit unwieldy when compared to a cellphone that might manage the same trick from inside a pocket, but within a few years we wouldn't be surprised to see this tech integrated into a trucker hat or maybe even a set of ridiculous headphones. [Warning: PDF read link]

[Via NewScientist]