FINDER: Portable Radar Device Locates Disaster Victims' Heartbeats

Researchers at the Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have developed a portable radar-based technology called Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response, or FINDER. The microwave radar technology is sensitive enough to distinguish the unique signature of a human's breathing pattern and heartbeat from that of other living creatures, such as rats. FINDER can detect a human heartbeat buried beneath 30 feet of crushed material, hidden behind 20 feet of solid concrete, and from a distance of 100 feet in open space. Victims, whether conscious or not, can easily be detected, which helps responders decide the most efficient course of action. The technology is anticipated to be commercially available for search and rescue operations by spring 2014.