NASA technology saved the lives of four men during the Nepal earthquake

by esther nimmo

9 May 2015 10:46 PM AEST: The lives of four men in Nepal were saved by an ultra-modern radar-based technology named FINDER (Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response), a heartbeat detector which was created jointly by the US Department of Homeland Security and NASA.

Nepal Earthquake
A heartbeat seeking technology created by NASA. Fit for finding aliens!

FINDER can detect a human heartbeat buried beneath up to 6 metres of crushed concrete and from a distance of 30 metres in open spaces, said a press statement of the Department of Homeland Security.

FINDER’S microwave radar technology is sensitive enough to detect a human’s breathing pattern and heartbeat and distinguish it from other living creatures allowing for experts to take efficient action in rescue attempts.

This photo from the website of Jet Propulsion Laboratory points out Chautara where NASA’s invention saved lives of local earthquake victims.

According to a news release by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in the remote village of Chautara in Nepal, four men trapped for days under as much as 3 metres of bricks, mud and other debris were rescued because of this new technology.

A team arrived in Nepal with two prototype FINDER devices on April 29 to assist in the rescue. Using FINDER, they were able to locate two heartbeats beneath two different collapsed structures, enabling the rescue workers to find and save the men from the ravages of the Nepal earthquake.

Dr. David Miller, chief technologist at NASA Headquarters in Washington states that “NASA technology plays many roles: driving exploration, protecting the lives of our astronauts and improving–even saving–the lives of people on Earth. FINDER exemplifies how technology designed for space exploration has profound impacts to life on Earth.”

DHS Under Secretary for Science and Technology Dr. Reginald Brothers explains that “Of course, no one wants disasters to occur, but tools like this are designed to help when our worst nightmares do happen. I am proud that we were able to provide the tools to help rescue these four men.”

For Jim Lux, the task manager for the FINDER project, the rescue of the four men was a pure satisfaction, “It’s very gratifying to see technology developed at JPL being used to save lives.”

This is the kind of wreckage the FINDER found survivors in!

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