Skip to comments.NASA, Homeland Security Test Disaster Recovery Tool
Posted on 09/25/2013 12:42:16 PM PDT by JOAT
PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security are collaborating on a first-of-its-kind portable radar device to detect the heartbeats and breathing patterns of victims trapped in large piles of rubble resulting from a disaster.
The prototype technology, called Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response (FINDER) can locate individuals buried as deep as 30 feet (about 9 meters) in crushed materials, hidden behind 20 feet (about 6 meters) of solid concrete, and from a distance of 100 feet (about 30 meters) in open spaces.
Developed in conjunction with Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate, FINDER is based on remote-sensing radar technology developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., to monitor the location of spacecraft JPL manages for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.
"FINDER is bringing NASA technology that explores other planets to the effort to save lives on ours," said Mason Peck, chief technologist for NASA and principal advisor on technology policy and programs. "This is a prime example of intergovernmental collaboration and expertise that has a direct benefit to the American taxpayer."
The technology was demonstrated to the media today at the DHS's Virginia Task Force 1 Training Facility in Lorton, Va. Media participated in demonstrations that featured the device locating volunteers hiding under heaps of debris. FINDER also will be tested further by the Federal Emergency Management Agency this year and next.
"The ultimate goal of FINDER is to help emergency responders efficiently rescue victims of disasters," said John Price, program manager for the First Responders Group in Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate in Washington. "The technology has the potential to quickly identify the presence of living victims, allowing rescue workers to more precisely deploy their limited resources."
The technology works by beaming microwave radar signals into the piles of debris and analyzing the patterns of signals that bounce back. NASA's Deep Space Network regularly uses similar radar technology to locate spacecraft. A light wave is sent to a spacecraft, and the time it takes for the signal to get back reveals how far away the spacecraft is. This technique is used for science research, too. For example, the Deep Space Network monitors the location of the Cassini mission's orbit around Saturn to learn about the ringed planet's internal structure.
"Detecting small motions from the victim's heartbeat and breathing from a distance uses the same kind of signal processing as detecting the small changes in motion of spacecraft like Cassini as it orbits Saturn," said James Lux, task manager for FINDER at JPL.
In disaster scenarios, the use of radar signals can be particularly complex. Earthquakes and tornadoes produce twisted and shattered wreckage, such that any radar signals bouncing back from these piles are tangled and hard to decipher. JPL's expertise in data processing helped with this challenge. Advanced algorithms isolate the tiny signals from a person's moving chest by filtering out other signals, such as those from moving trees and animals.
Similar technology has potential applications in NASA's future human missions to space habitats. The astronauts' vital signs could be monitored without the need for wires.
The Deep Space Network, managed by JPL, is an international network of antennas that supports interplanetary spacecraft missions and radio and radar astronomy observations for the exploration of the solar system and the universe. The network also supports selected Earth-orbiting missions.
Well, I feel better knowing Homeland Security wants to be able to detect heartbeats through 20 FEET OF CONCRETE.
I'm sure they only have our best interests in mind when co-opting this NASA technology.
They would never have a different agenda than looking for survivors with this, right?
Good Hunting, Janet!
FINDER will certainly be able to help Big Sis ‘hunt!’
I’ve got a device that can detect heartbeats under 1000ft of concrete.
I need $100M to continue to study it as my results are inconclusive.
Oh by the way it also will end Global Warming.
Careful, 'solving' Globull Warming would end a big gravy train.
Better to just 'improve' it by redistributing our money into their pockets.
I wish I were a tech nerd-
There is a fortune to be made by the person or company that invents the device that blocks/jams the signal this finder puts out-not to mention the attorney who handles the first lawsuit involving such a blatant invasion of privacy as monitoring an individual’s vital signs without express permission...
Tom Clancy wrote about something very similar in “Rainbow Six” if I remember correctly. They used the technology to track the bad guys in a Amazonian Rainforest. They were able to direct the ‘good guys’ precisely to where the ‘Bad Guys’ were hiding out.
"Advanced algorithms isolate the tiny signals from a person's moving chest by filtering out other signals, such as those from moving trees and animals."
Life imitates art
We are fast entering a SCI-FI reality, where we have to concern ourselves with jamming unwelcome scans.
Nothing but the truth-I watched the new Star Trek movie on PPV last weekend-reading this, the movie doesn’t seem so much like sci-fi after all...
They just screwed up by revealing it can read through 20 feet of solid concrete.
Now my bunker will be TWENTY-ONE feet thick, along with good old-fashioned tinfoil "layered in" for good measure!
That’s all well and good until odumbo’s army decides to use it on innocent US citizens.
This will bring a shoot-on-sight mentality for those that perceive a threat to themselves from FEMA.
This is the scariest thing I’ve heard of in a long time. The government is now able to track us in our homes and other buildings.