Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Communicating in a crisis: Researchers devise new technique to help rescuers communicate after terrorist attacks

Date:
June 11, 2011
Source:
Kingston University
Summary:
In the aftermath of the London bombings mobile phones and radios stopped working making the already tricky rescue operation even more difficult. Now experts have developed a solution to ensure breakdowns in communication are a thing of the past for emergency workers responding to disasters.

In the aftermath of the London bombings mobile phones and radios stopped working making the already tricky rescue operation even more difficult. Now experts from Kingston University have developed a solution to ensure breakdowns in communication are a thing of the past for emergency workers responding to disasters.

Related Articles


A team led by Dr Christos Politis has designed a sophisticated, internet-based technique to keep rescuers and their central control room in touch independently, rather than using central wireless access points or the TETRA police radio system. The app, which can be used on an i-pad or other personal digital assistant (PDAs), will also allow emergency service workers in the United Kingdom to talk to counterparts across Europe on a secure system.

"This research looked at how we communicate in a major disaster or emergency," Dr Politis said. "When there's a major terrorist event, earthquake or forest fire, traditional phone lines and radios often can't cope and tend to jam because of the volume of calls and other multimedia traffic, like video. Using our new application, emergency service staff will be able to communicate on their own autonomous network using any available smart device without having to rely on a central communication system."

The research, funded by the European Union's PEACE project, built on existing work into mobile networks, known as MANETs. These are networks of mobile devices which work independently and are connected by individual wireless links. Rather than connecting through an external internet network, the new technique allows rescue workers to set up an independent communication system designed for their specific purposes at the scene whatever the situation or location -- be it an underground tube station or next to a collapsed office block.

The design allows one of the mobile devices carried by a rescue worker to act as the super-node -- a bit like a mini satellite -- letting other mobile devices communicate with each other. As soon as a device passes a virtual intelligence security-check, it can start to find others in the location. Each worker can then talk or send video or data to individual workers or entire groups.

By installing our app the devices can also be used to work with new sensors being created by research partners in the PEACE project. "In the future the technology will also be able to act as sensors and pick up humidity levels, workers' heart rates, temperatures, movement and pass these on to a central operator," Dr Politis said. "These statistics can then be checked by central control workers who can advise crews if they need to get out if it is getting too hot for example." Important buildings such as government buildings and tube stations may have permanent sensors in the future.

Dr Politis and his team believe their invention offers huge potential in the aftermath of terrorist events and natural disasters. "If the application takes off then in the future it could transform the way rescuers search for survivors in an earthquake," Dr Politis, a former telecoms engineer who served in the Greek airforce, said. "We could see an emergency button you could press on your smart phone if you were trapped under rubble and this could send your co-ordinates to rescuers' devices without you even having to call 999."

The Kingston design recently won backing from emergency service experts at a European-wide conference in Portugal. The team has also liaised with the Internet Engineer Task Force (IETF), an international community of internet professionals who work to advance internet architecture, as the application has been developed. The Kingston prototype will now be refined and could be rolled out to emergency services within two years.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Kingston University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Kingston University. "Communicating in a crisis: Researchers devise new technique to help rescuers communicate after terrorist attacks." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110609083222.htm>.
Kingston University. (2011, June 11). Communicating in a crisis: Researchers devise new technique to help rescuers communicate after terrorist attacks. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110609083222.htm
Kingston University. "Communicating in a crisis: Researchers devise new technique to help rescuers communicate after terrorist attacks." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110609083222.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Can Bitcoin Survive 2015?

Can Bitcoin Survive 2015?

Newsy (Dec. 22, 2014) Bitcoin's stock has tumbled significantly this year, but more companies now accept it, leading supporters and critics alike to weigh in on its future. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Cheap Oil Help Fix U.S. Roads?

Could Cheap Oil Help Fix U.S. Roads?

Newsy (Dec. 21, 2014) As falling oil prices boost Americans' spending power, the U.S. government is also gaining flexibility from savings on oil. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
After Sony Hack, What's Next?

After Sony Hack, What's Next?

Reuters - US Online Video (Dec. 19, 2014) The hacking attack on Sony Pictures has U.S. government officials weighing their response to the cyber-attack. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins