Researchers are using a technique called simultaneous location and mapping (SLAM) to develop helmets that rescue workers can use to navigate through heavy smoke. The helmet features an infrared laser scanner and software that bounces signals off walls and uses that data to create a map of the surrounding area.
The software also filters out variables like swaying and head-bobbing that could confuse the signal. Obviously, this technology is a long way from being implemented in the real world (as you can see from the crude helmet pictured here), but I can see how it could be a big help to rescue workers if some sort of monitor was added to the helmet or it was integrated into a handheld device. [New Scientist]