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Science Technology

Device Sniffs Out Signs of Life After Disasters 48

MTorrice writes "With every breath, people exhale a plume of chemicals. Now German researchers have developed a method to quickly and easily detect this chemical signature of life with a portable device. The team hopes that the approach can help firefighters and other first responders find people trapped inside rubble after earthquakes, terrorist attacks, or other calamities."
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Device Sniffs Out Signs of Life After Disasters

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  • Re:Dogs (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 11, 2013 @03:08AM (#42555395)

    Lots of reasons why. Dogs are great but not perfect.

    1) Convenience of mass production means greater deployment compared to the high time and cost of training dogs along with maintenance basically means cheaper costs and greater numbers
    2) Deployment ability, devices are very easy to bring along and can be kept on all vehicles for standby, you can't exactly do that with dogs. It would also be easier for transportation like say extras are needed for a big emergency.
    3) Durability/Downtime, devices can be fixed or replaced with little issues if damaged compared to dogs which can put them out of commission especially considering the danger of their work. Devices also don't need rest, batteries tend to be easy to deal with while there is little you can do with a tired dog.
    4) Reliability, We know how the devices will work and it will work in a consistent manner (barring specific hardware issues) unlike dogs which are unlikely to be consistent in ability with the same amount of training.

    Really, it doesn't even have to be an either or scenario in this case. Why not deploy both if this works as advertised? More testing and possibly research to prove it's capabilities are needed i think before we start deploying it everywhere but it may become an important tool in a disaster. Searching for way to improve upon the status quo can only be a good thing even if things don't always pan out. It's only when you start going with unproven, untested technology that is the problem (those tsa scanners).

  • by jcr ( 53032 ) <jcr.mac@com> on Friday January 11, 2013 @04:08AM (#42555547) Journal

    Could something along the lines of a millimeter wave radar detect a heartbeat through rubble, or under snow after an avalanche, perhaps?


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