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WPI receives award from Homeland Security Department to advance first-responder location
Date:10/29/2008

tems alert incident commanders when firefighters are in distressespecially when their stress levels put them at risk of a heart attack. A June 2008 report by the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) identified stress or over-exhaustion and becoming lost or disoriented inside buildings as two of the top three leading causes of firefighter fatalities in 2007.

About WPI's Precision Personnel Technology

With more than $4 million in support from the U.S. Department of Justice, WPI has been working for five years on a precision indoor location system that uses advanced radio frequency technology and algorithms borrowed from synthetic aperture radar to pinpoint the three-dimensional location of a first responder wearing a special transmitter to within one foot. A $1 million grant from the Department of Homeland security in 2007 funded the integration of physiological monitoring capability into this system. This integration includes a vest made by Foster Miller Co. that monitors heart rate, respiration, body temperature, and posture, and a wireless pulse oximeter designed by WPI researchers that measures pulse, respiration, and blood oxygenation.

The DHS funds will permit the WPI research team to further explore enhancements designed to overcome known limitations of the existing radio-frequency and radar-based tracking technology. The team will explore augmenting the system with inertial navigation devices or other technologies that are not affected by shielding or reflectors and that can work in concert with the existing system to provide continuous, accurate location information under a wide range of building and environmental conditions.

About the Testing

To avoid a conflict of interest, WPI's systems will not be included in the national test, which will be conducted by NSRDEC and WPI in Boston in the spring of 2009. The WPI research team will begin work this year by cooperating with NSRDEC to identify the types of te
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Contact: Michael Dorsey
mwdorsey@wpi.edu
508-831-5609
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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