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NASA uses FINDER to locate natural disaster victims in Nepal

NASA has successfully launched the first real-world operational use of FINDER, a technology to  locate individuals buried under rubble in natural disaster scenarios.

The Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response (FINDER) is a radar technology designed to detect heartbeats of victims trapped in wreckage. The technology proved successful during its first real-world operational use when it was deployed to Nepal following the April 25 earthquake to support international search and rescue efforts in the country, NASA said in a press release issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate.

NASA technology was able to find the heartbeats and rescue four people in the wreckage of a collapsed textile factory and another building in the Nepalese village of Chautara. David Lewis, president of R4, Inc., had taken two FINDER prototypes to Nepal to assist in rescue efforts after the April 25, 2015, earthquake.

finder_nasa_earthquake_nepal
Image Source:  NASA/JPL-Caltech/DHS
nasa_finder_natural_disasters
Image Source: Credit: David Lewis, R4 Inc.
Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response (FINDER) is a collaboration between NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, and the Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate in Washington.

FINDER is a portable, lightweight, 20-pound radar detector that is about the size of an average suitcase. FINDER sends a low-powered microwave signal through rubble and detects the signals returned back caused by victim's breathing or heartbeats. In tests, FINDER has detected heartbeats through 30 feet of rubble or 20 feet of solid concrete.

Besides natural disaster settings, the device could be used to find people lost in a forest, trapped in a burning house or buried in the wreckage of a collapsed building.

News Source: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=4578

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