NASA‘s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has created a tracking system that works to provide firefighters’ locations inside buildings.
The agency said Tuesday the Precision Outdoor and Indoor Navigation and Tracking for Emergency Responders system works to address tracking problems which occur when firefighters enter buildings that block radio signals.
“To this day, the ability to track and locate first responders is a number one priority for disaster agencies across the country,” said Greg Price, director of the Department of Homeland Security‘ first responder technologies division.
POINTER has been demonstrated for leaders at DHS’ science and technology directorate which provided funds to develop the tracking system.
Representatives from fire departments across the U.S. participated in a demonstration of POINTER at JPL in September, NASA said.
JPL employee Darmindra Arumugam developed POINTER through quasistatic fields that work to get around walls and provide non-line-of-sight functions.
Arumugam’s team works to miniaturize the backpack-sized device so it could fit into pocket or on a belt buckle and become commercialized.
The technology behind POINTER can also be used for industrial, military and space applications, NASA noted.