Introducing the future of fire safety using AI

Grand Challenge winners visited Melbourne to bring their fire detection prototype to reality

Written by Rei Fortes

FiremeX is a next generation fire detection prototype that uses artificial intelligence (AI) which integrates with existing CCTV systems to warn people of potential fire hazards.

The prototype began as a side project for Dilan Perera, a Software Engineer, who completed his Bachelor of Computer Science degree at the University of Colombo School of Computing in Sri Lanka.

Perera saw an opportunity to bring his idea to life through the 2022 Technology Infusion Grand Challenge (TIGC) competition and invited four of his friends to form Team RegeX and transform the FiremeX prototype into reality.

Supported by the University of Colombo School of Computing, Team RegeX were announced as the overall winners of the TIGC competition and received a two-week-all-expense paid mentorship stay in Melbourne, Australia.

“One of the most important and valuable things we learned during our time in Melbourne is developing a strong business concept for our product FiremeX,” said Dilan Perera member of Team RegeX.

“We gained a lot of both technical and business-oriented information through all our mentoring sessions.”

Team RegeX worked alongside researchers, professional, and business experts at La Trobe University’s Bundoora campus.  These mentors assisted them to learn and understand the processes involved to successfully bring the FiremeX prototype into the commercial market.

“When we met Grant Downie, we had no idea how to continue our business and how to think like an entrepreneur. Meeting with him really changed our way of thinking in approaching the business aspects of our project,” said Suvin Nimnaka, member of Team RegeX.

“We also had meetings with Simon Mildren who was a self-taught entrepreneur himself. He shared with us his entrepreneurial experiences and we found it very helpful as we follow his footsteps.”

FiremeX is a device with sustainability and cost efficiency in mind. The smart all-in-one system can detect the early signs of a fire, indoors or outdoors, using existing digital video recorders (DVR) or network video recorder (NVR) devices.

If the system detects smoke or signs of combustion, emergency contacts will be notified along with firefighting services. This reduces the delay in identifying fire hazards and the chances of fires spreading in urban populated areas or high-risk fire locations.

Along with mentoring sessions, Team RegeX also had the opportunity to explore the city of Melbourne and enjoy some of Victoria’s beautiful landscapes.

“The culture was vibrant while we were walking around Melbourne CBD. It was quite different than what we are used to in Sri Lanka,” said Thenuka Ovin, member of Team RegeX.

“Mount Dandenong was one of our favourite places that we visited in Melbourne and also the places around it such as Lysterfield Park.”

Team RegeX finished their stay in Melbourne with a final presentation on how they plan to follow through with FiremeX in taking the next steps to making their protype a product accessible to the wider market.

“First, we need to convince people the importance of fire protection. It is always better to be pro-active than re-active,” said Suvin Nimnaka. “Second, we want to show that our solution has low production cost and in return provides a product that gives you improved protection against fires.”

“We are happy that the Technology Infusion Grand Challenge provided us a great platform to convert an innovative idea into a start-up that we can continue to grow and build for the future.”

Watch highlights from Team RegeX’s mentorship stay in Melbourne HERE.

La Trobe University thanks the Victorian Government – Study Melbourne for being a co-sponsor of the Grand Challenge program.