The situation is confusing enough when havoc strikes, and when radios aren't working and firefighters don't know where their colleagues are, it gets a whole lot worse. Learning from the communications problems of 9/11, designers solved those problems with this Smart Suit whose embedded sensors transmit the exact location and vital signs of each firefighter or rescue worker to a central command center. Hey, there are lots of reasons why this tech could be helpful for disaster workers, including those California firefighters risking their lives as you read this.

The suit opens a reliable communications link via Wi-Fi, a crucial component since cellphone networks are likely to be either completely jammed or not functioning at all during a major disaster. And, since vital signs and location can be closely estimated, firefighters buried under debris but still alive can be located and rescued more quickly.

The Smart Suit has been tested and approved by the European Space Agency, and will soon be deployed in Europe—and hopefully in the US before the next big disaster strikes. [Inventor Spot]