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196 views • July 8, 2021

POINTER: NASA Tech for Tracking Firefighters Tested in Building

On April 30, 2021, members of the POINTER project tested the tracking technology inside a residential structure on the Caltech campus in Southern California. The technology is being developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate for use by firefighters to help track team members inside hazardous environments that may be obscured by smoke and flames. Short for Precision Outdoor and Indoor Navigation and Tracking for Emergency Responders, POINTER began taking shape in 2014, and now the technology is being matured for use by fire departments nationwide. Unlike positioning technologies such as GPS or radio-frequency identification, POINTER doesn’t use radio waves. Though radio waves offer a reliable means to determine your location in a relatively open space, they can become unpredictable indoors. The system utilizes magnetoquasistatic fields that can pass through walls and other construction materials, a technique developed by JPL researchers. For more information about POINTER, see: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/pointer-seeing-through-walls-to-help-locate-firefighters Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
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