New Heartbeat Detector May Save Lives After Disasters
Portable technology will help search and rescue teams find people more quickly.
Researchers with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, have developed a device the size of a small carry-on bag that uses microwaves to detect human heartbeats in piles of rubble, which can bury people following natural disasters such as earthquakes.
Scientists and search and rescue workers tested the latest prototype this week in Lorton, Virginia, and the device may be available to buy as soon as next year. Jim Lux, the project's task manager at JPL, estimates the device will retail around the $10,000 range.
"The idea came from the Department of Homeland Security's science and technology folks who were looking for a way to speed up and improve the search capability to find victims in disasters," he said.