By Sanah Faroke, Staff Writer
When you feel like you’re completely lost and trapped under all your problems, there’s an app for that (and also a psychologist). But what happens if you’re actually in a crisis with say, a natural disaster, a collapsed building or a storm? One moment you’re consumed by all the work you have to do, and the next, you’re being consumed by a tornado (which isn’t likely, especially in Boston), but let’s just pretend. There is now a new tool to get you out of the gutter.
This new tool, created by U.S. space agency experts who collaborated with the Department of Homeland Security, created a portable radar device that can actually detect live victims who are as far down as 30 feet under collapsed material. So, for the zombie fans out there, this device would be an essential one during a zombie apocalypse.
But in all seriousness, the technology that detect objects in space from a distance inspired the FINDER app, which is short for Finding Individuals Disaster and Emergency Response. It’s some pretty intense stuff, but the possibilities of using this machine during dire circumstances is unbelievable and, well, dare I say it, a life saver.
“The ultimate goal of FINDER is to help emergency responders efficiently rescue victims of disasters,” said John Price, the program manager for the First Responders Group in Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate in an interview with Discovery News.
So how does it work? Well, it’s much more complex than the average metal detector. And just to be clear, I’m not ragging on metal detectors—it’s just one way I can find change for laundry, duh. FINDER however uses advanced algorithms to identify the tiny signals that are given off by a moving chest.
NASA’s Deep Space Network uses the same technique that created FINDER to track spacecrafts that orbit Saturn. Through this method, they can detect the victim’s heartbeat and breathing from a distance through signal processing.
If you think about how much impact this device could have been in situations like the Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans or the September 11 tragedy, many lives could have been saved, but looking to the future, FINDER can identify if there is a surviving victim and is a tool for rescue workers. Looks like those adorable rescue pooches will soon be out of a job because where they falter, FINDER picks up the slack. It can detect a survivor in open spaces for up to 100 feet and under solid concrete, it can locate a living survivor up to 20 feet.
In preparation for the unknowns of tomorrow, devices like FINDER is not only heaven sent, but insanely beneficial. You never know what’ll happen tomorrow, so always eat like it’s the Last Supper, live like you have 9 lives and if you get stuck in a rut, just know that technology is moving as fast as you are and devices, like FINDER, are here to the rescue.