FINDER is a human detection system built to identify human heartbeats and breathing rates and assist in locating individuals wherever they may be. With natural disasters in abundance in recent years, this is especially useful. This is however only one of its many uses. Border control authorities, military detection teams and fire departments around the world could benefit from FINDER technology. We have been in contact with multiple civil defense and military authorities around the world who have/or are willing to make use of FINDER in their operations.
The technology was developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate. The original FINDER was a handheld enclosed box that was carried to the disaster site and set towards the direction of the area to be scanned. Microwave sensor modules and software algorithms are the tools used to detect humans in culverts, buildings, rooms, walls, containers, basins, caverns, vehicles, edifices and structures of all materials and varied densities from a stand-off distance. FINDER was later shrunk in size and mounted on a drone proving it to be highly useful as it can be deployed to places where it is normally difficult to reach to. This not only saves time, but also the resources required to reach to those areas.
The FINDER drone hovers over the area that requires scanning while a gimbal holds the sensors in place. A signal is sent out from the transmitter, where when a person is detected, the signal received showcases a still environment but an active heart and breathing rate. FINDER can isolate the received signal and determining is the heart and breathing rates match those of a living human. If true, it the informs the operator that a living person is in the area.
Only one person is required to operate the FINDER and it is highly accurate when compared to conventional human detection methods such as sniffer dogs. Accompanying the drone is the flight transmitter as well as a mobile tablet linked through wireless technology that is used to operate FINDER and view the results of scanned area. Once the FINDER has completed the calibration cycle where a test signal is sent to familiarize with the area to be scanned and the detection cycle, a results screen on the tablet shows the number of living humans detected. For each person detected, the reliability of their existence based on how closely the received signal matches that of a living person is also displayed.
As the capabilities of the FINDER technology continue to be explored and the success of its missions is seen around the world, we can only hope that more people can benefit from it as the final goal is to save lives.