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371 views • December 22, 2021

POINTER: NASA Tech Demonstrated in a Simulated House Fire

New technology being developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate for use by firefighters and paramedics will help track first responders inside hazardous environments that may be obscured by smoke and flames. On October 27, 2021, members of the POINTER project from NASA-JPL teamed up with first responders to test the tracking technology under simulated house fire conditions. The demonstration was carried out inside a residential structure on the Caltech campus in Southern California, the same structure that was used in the April 30, 2021, demonstration. 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. During this demo, firefighters with the Pasadena Fire Department and paramedics put the technology through its paces under realistic search-and-rescue conditions. While rescues were simulated inside the structure, teammates located outside were able to track the location of their colleagues in 3D, seeing through walls and floors. 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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