VitalResponder 2.0 Project

Intelligent management of critical events of stress, fatigue and smoke intoxication in forest firefighting.

(2013-2015. The project is concluded.)

The goal of the Vital Responder research project is to explore the synergies between innovative wearable technologies, scattered sensor networks, intelligent building technology and precise localization services to provide secure, reliable and effective first-response systems in critical emergency scenarios. The core problem under consideration is to evaluate human stress in real-time under adverse conditions, by means of continuous online vital sign monitoring of first responders. Turning this vision into engineering reality requires significant advances on the several fronts: (a) real-time information gathering of body signals is very hard to achieve in uncontrolled and dangerous environments, (b) GPS based location systems do not work indoors, and (c) inter-disciplinary research between engineers and clinicians on the origins and nature of physiological stress is still at an infant stage. The “silver bullet” is provided by a high-tech company named Biodevices, which together with researchers at the University of Aveiro developed a suite of non-intrusive wearable technologies, as inconspicuous as a t-shirt, capable of gathering relevant information about the individual.

The next step, which is currently taken in collaboration with researchers at IT, University of Porto and Carnegie Mellon is to view Vital Jackets as nodes of a distributed system that leverages the rich data sets with short-range communication, intelligent building technologies and localization capabilities. Ultimately the team will deploy a prototype infrastructure that enables continuous online monitoring of the collected information. Companies like McLaren Electronics and Petratex are also involved in the project.


Principal Institution: IEETA/Universidade de Aveiro

Principal Investigator (PI): João Paulo Silva Cunha, PhD, Associate Professor, DETIUA

Partner: Instituto de Telecomunicações (IT)


  • Nuno Borges de Carvalho, PhD, Associate Professor, DETIUA
  • João Barros, PhD, Associate Professor, FEUP
  • Miguel Coimbra, PhD, Auxiliary Professor, FCUP
  • Verónica Orvalho, PhD, Auxiliary Professor, FCUP
  • Partner: BioDevices, SA


  • Luís Meireles, PhD, CEO

CMU Partners: CenSCIR – Center for Sensed Critical Infrastructure Research


  • Priya Narasimhan, PhD, Associate Professor, ECE
  • Burku Akinci, PhD, Associate Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • Vijayakumar Bhagavatula, PhD, Full Professor, ECE

The VitalResponder project has been successfully completed. The research outcomes are been applied in the follow-up project VitalResponder 2.0.

Monitoring Stress among First Responder professionals is a CMU-Portugal funded project with the main goal to provide secure, reliable and effective first-response systems in critical emergency scenarios. To achieve this goal an interdisciplinary team with expertise in areas such as wearable technology for vital signs, biomedical signal processing, sensor networks and RF Location/Intelligent buildings was formed.


Vital Responder project is presented in national TV in real use by Gaia professional firefighters


Vital Responder project is presented at TV Record – Brazil