NASA has developed radar technology that helps first-responders find victims in disaster situations. The new technology is called Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response (FINDER). It’s capable of detecting individuals buried under or trapped behind varying meters and densities of debris. In open space it can locate people as far as 30 meters away. FINDER would give responders a greater margin of time for finding injured or trapped people and effectively treating them.
FINDER works by reading the patterns that bounce back from debris using radar microwave signals. There are some complications when it comes to analyzing wreckage. In situations where storms have produced shattered wreckage, signals can get crossed by the overstimulation of surfaces. However, algorithms help to weed out the oversaturation of signals and isolate human movement like the rise and fall of a victim’s chest.
The FINDER detection is tailored specifically to human signals so that it doesn’t inadvertently pick up signals coming from animals or other moving factors, like trees or debris. There have been many instruments developed to help disaster relief, from clean-up resources to transportation vehicles, but FINDER is the most precise prototype built to target and locate trapped disaster victims.