The Tohoku earthquake and tsunami two years ago killed several thousand people, and left close to few thousand missing. The numbers of dislocated people felt, to anyone watching, an immeasurable number. If only there were a rapid way, when driving through the vast areas of devastation, to know where someone in need may be lying—trapped beneath some debris. NASA now has a new device, called FINDER (Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response), which could be the next player in hastening the response time in such grim scenarios.
Although dogs have aided emergency responders for decades, a pooch relies on its sniffer in emergency situations. FINDER, on the other hand, uses microwaves in a Doppler-like fashion to sense respiration and pulse. The lightweight briefcase, as displayed in the video above, was developed for the Department of Homeland Security with remote-sensing radar technology NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab uses to locate spacecraft in flight. The unit includes a tablet, on which a hidden person's vitals are then displayed.
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