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NASA’s FINDER helps to find survivors in Nepal earthquake debris


NASA’s FINDER, a radar device in the form of a suitcase has helped to save four lives under the debris in earthquake-hit Nepal. The device is now helping workers to find people who are buried under buildings.kathmandu20150508MAIN-16-640x350

Nepal was struck by a massive 7.8-magnitude earthquake on 25th April, leaving hundreds people under the debris. FINDER has helped in saving two men from a textile factory, and the other two people from another building. The device uses microwave radar technology that can detect heartbeats under 30 feet of debris. The search was conducted in Chautara, a village located slightly east of Kathmandu.

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“Technology’s genuine test is how well it operates in real-life setting,” said Reginald Brothers, undersecretary at U.S Department of Homeland Security. (DHS)

Brothers added that tools like FINDER can assist when the worst nightmares happen as in the case of Nepal earthquake. The rescued people were buried under 10 feet of debris, and NASA claims that the device is capable of detecting millimeter wide movements of the human heart.

FINDER stands for Finding INdividuals for Disaster and Emergency Response. The prototype version of the device is like a carry-on suitcase, and there are multiple versions. The one used in Nepal earthquake weighed less than nine kilograms. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and DHS developed the device. FINDER’s radar sends out signals, and they are reflected back to the device.

The Nepal earthquake, also known as Gorkha earthquake has killed more than 8,500 people, and leaving nearly 20,000 injured. The epicenter was located in the village of Barpak, Gorkha district, and causalities were reported in China, India and Bangladesh.

The latest version of the technology was demonstrated at Virginia Task One Training Facility in Lorton, Virgina. Task manager for FINDER project James Lux stated that it was gratifying to have a piece of technology that they developed out in the field to save lives.

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A movie buff, a bookworm, and a compulsive doodler. All posts by Anirudh

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