• Project : A portable kit for detecting trapped and buried people in ruins and avalanches
  • Acronym: Rescuecell
  • Type: FP7
  • Start date: 01/01/2013
  • End date: 31/03/2015
  • Website:

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Although avalanches, earthquakes and collapsed buildings are claiming an increasing death toll due to urbanisation, climate change and tourism, Search and Rescue (SAR) operations are limited and expensive. Even research efforts for Search and Rescue services are relatively unimportant due to the specific and therefore limited market for existing products. The main limitations of existing SAR methods are their inefficiency, time involvement and costly as they are very directional and limited in range and accuracy. In addition, their usage is complex and requires intense training and sophisticated methodology or even resorting to a specialised team. Therefore, there was an urgent need for developing a unique, easy-to-use, cost-efficient, safe and reliable tool in order to locate victims who are buried under debris or snow, providing accuracy of their position in a swift way. As experiences from disaster situations show than most of the victims carried mobile phones with them, the aim of the RescueCell project was to develop a novel accurate location system based on mobile signal measurements in order to create a cost-effective and portable kit for emergency search services, easy to be to be installed and used.

The aim of the RescueCell project is to develop a novel accurate location system based on Femtocell technology in order to create a cost-effective and portable kit for emergency search services.

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The standard RescueCell network kit will be composed of 20 static nodes, which will measure the Received Signal Strength (RSS), and the Time Difference of Arrival (TDoA) parameters from the radio signal received from the buried mobile phones. All information will be centralised in a master node called Control Centre (CC). With this information, the RSS and TDoA from each Node, the CC using Trilateration and Hyperbolic location methods respectively will determine the position of buried mobile phones, similarly to how GSM/3G location systems work. Moreover, the CC will apply intelligent algorithms based on Data Fusion techniques in order to merge the information from RSS and TDoA parameters, thereby increasing location accuracy. The connection of the RescueCell network with a mobile operator is not required, as RescueCell is completely mobile operator independent, but can nevertheless detect all mobile phones as well as support mobile calls.

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