JPL, Homeland Security debut disaster-recovery systemThe system help detect people buried in the wake of an earthquake or other disaster
A radar system that can detect the heartbeats and breathing of victims buried under rubble after a major disaster -- using technology developed at Jet Propulsion Laboratory for tracking spacecraft -- was unveiled this week by NASA and U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials.
The portable radar, dubbed Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response, or FINDER, can detect people buried as deep as 30 feet under crushed materials, according to NASA and JPL. It can also find people behind 20 feet of concrete and from a distance of about 100 feet in open spaces.
"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," according to James Lux, task manager for FINDER at JPL.