Thursday, December 26, 2013

C-Thru Smoke Diving Helmet Is a Cool Concept, But that's All It Is.

On Friday I linked to what appeared to be an amazing, game-changing firefighter's helmet, the C-Thru Smoke Diving Helmet, designed by Omer Haciomeroglu and written about in the popular industrial design blog Yanko Design. After reading the article, after posting it on the Friday Link Roundup, and after ruminating over it, something seemed a little off about it. The images had a slightly "uncanny valley" feel to them, as if they were perhaps computer renderings, Photoshop composites, or some combination of the two. I couldn't find them for sale anywhere, or find any indication that they were in testing, even though the language of the article implies that the helmets actually exist ("C-Thru is a helmet" rather than "C-Thru is a concept for a helmet," "this is how it works" rather than "this is how it would work, in theory," etc.). At the time of writing, the designer's website is an "under construction" page, which seems odd for a high-tech industrial designer. In some of the pictures, the wire-frame graphics displayed on the visor screens would appear backwards to the person wearing the helmet.
And so on.

Now, there's nothing wrong with reporting on interesting concepts, as Yanko Design often does. In this case, it's a sin of omission. The word "concept" never appears in the article, its tags, its URL, or anywhere else on the page. Still, I'm hesitant to place too much blame on Yanko. Older articles do mention that the project is in its conceptual stages, but that information is easy to miss. FireRescue1 mistakenly refers to it as a "prototype." While it's true that Yanko failed to perform their due diligence, I could say as much for myself, as I posted the link.

C-Thru is a very cool, perhaps very legitimate concept, but it is just a concept. No hardware, no prototype actually exists yet. The images are not, strictly speaking, real.

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