Scott Anderson’s project, intended for firefighters and one he hopes will become reality, is the Light Emitting Nozzle System. He calls it LENS. LENS incorporates LEDs into the end of a firefighting nozzle in order to allow firefighters better sightlines in dark situations.
“This has what we call real-world viability if it’s developed further,” said David Rumsey, associate professor of engineering and mathematics.
Anderson describes the project in simple terms.
Basically, I took an existing fog firefighting nozzle and put eight high-powered LEDs on the end of it,” Indiana Tech’s 2015-16 Outstanding Electrical Engineering Student said. “It faces forward so it incorporates the light and makes it a multi-use tool. It’s pointed in the direction of the firefighters’ attention and it also lights the stream of water.
Designing the system was far from simple, however. Anderson had specifics in terms of the brightness of the lights, the weight of the lights, the type of battery to use and converting the voltage from the charger to battery to LEDs. Anderson designed his own schematic circuit.
Laying out the circuit board was among the most difficult parts of the project, he said.
“I limited myself to a certain amount of space to keep it compact and everything,” Anderson said. “I sent out the circuit board to be made and I soldered all the components myself. Everything fired up the first time.”
The prototype LENS ended up weighing 2 pounds, 6 ounces. The battery life is 1.9 hours and the final light was 2700 lumens.
“I mentioned it to a couple of fire departments and they’ve actually shown some interest in it,” Anderson said. “The company I got the model for the actual fire nozzle from told me, ‘When you’re done, show us what you’ve got and we’ll see what we can do from there.’ ”
Anderson landed a position as an electrical design engineer with Raffel Systems in Germantown, Wis., but hopes to continue to see if the LENS can find its way into firefighting in some form.
“I’m not real concerned about making it a project that makes a bunch of money,” he said. “I just want to see if one of these companies that have a reputation with fire departments would see this and say, ‘Hey, that’s smart technology and something we could incorporate in the near future.’
“I’ve always had an interest in the fire service and just making the people that protect us as safe as possible,” Anderson said.
Rumsey said he would rank Anderson’s project as one of the best he’s seen in the last four or five years.
“It’s definitely not something I’m going to put on a bookshelf and forget about,” Anderson said.