Life Finder

Tech, Life and Death

Written by: Julianna Ching, 10

Illustration by: Seo Woo Kim, 10

Every year we hear of the hundreds who get crushed under rubble with slim chances of survival, in natural disasters and infrastructure misfortunes such as the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, or the 2013 collapse of the Rana Plaza factory in Dhaka. In these catastrophic situations, every second counts, as rescue teams try to save as many lives as they possibly can. However, as efficient as these teams may be, it’s always very difficult trying to pinpoint locations where survivors may be and excavating them from the wreckage. In order to counter this dilemma, this year, a new kind of technology has been introduced—one that truly has the power to save lives.

The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) have worked together to create the Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response, also known as FINDER, contraption. FINDER uses advanced microwave radar technology to find the distinct heartbeat of a human.  It can detect heartbeats from under 30 feet of crushed material, 20 feet of concrete, and a distance of 100 feet in open space.  With FINDER, rescue teams will be able to respond faster to emergencies and locate victims quickly during crucial situations. The apparatus may also be used to monitor a patient’s heartbeat as they are in ambulances and stretchers, making the rescue process much more time-efficient. In addition to this, the emergence device can also be used in rescue robots and biology research to identify different species.

The latest version of this innovation was supposed to have been demonstrated late September of this year, however because of delay, this exciting technology is anticipated to be ready for search and rescue missions as early as spring 2014. With FINDER well on its way towards implementation, in the near future, it is expected that rescuers will be able to enjoy greater efficiency in their rescue processes and ultimately minimize the casualties that arise from disasters.


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