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Tracking survivors in the aftermath of a disaster or during an emergency event is a major challenge for first responders, especially in an indoors environment. The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is leading an effort to find the best solution for indoor 3D tracking for first responders. The Crisis Technologies Innovation Lab (CTIL) in Indiana University’s Pervasive Technology Institute has been awarded $8 million to help create life-saving technologies for first responders.
Thanks to funding from NIST’s Public Safety Communications Research Division, the Indiana University lab and its partner, KSM Consulting, will administer a series of competitions for companies, entrepreneurs and students.
David Wild, a professor in the IU Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering and director of the lab explained: “GPS just tells you roughly within a few meters where on earth somebody is. It’s not accurate enough to tell you what room in a building somebody is in, nor can it ascertain elevation properly in a building,” according to iu.edu.
“If there’s a building on fire or there’s a search-and-rescue scenario after an earthquake, the incident commanders need to know exactly where all the first responders are. If one building is in danger of collapse, they need to know who to tell to get out. Right now, there’s no technology really mature enough to help them do that.”
Competitors’ innovations will be tested and judged at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in Edinburgh, Indiana, which includes 190 structures and more than 1.8 miles of tunnels. In a time of unprecedented crises and increasing dependency on a fragile technology infrastructure, Crisis Technologies Innovation Lab uses modern data and informatics technologies to prepare for and prevent crises, make crisis response scalable and more equitable, and improve recovery after crises happen.
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