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By GCN Staff

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DHS offers prize for indoor tracking tech

When firefighters or police enter a building, the rest of their team often has no way to track them. If the building is filled with smoke, the responder himself may not even know where he is.

The difficulty of tracking responders indoors is exacerbated if radio communications are poor or non-existent. And current solutions based on GPS technology don’t work well for indoor tracking because of weak signals and the difficulty of penetrating buildings.

In an effort to crack the problem, the DHS Science and Technology Directorate announced the “Where am I, Where is my Team?” prize for developing personalized, modular and scalable approaches to track first responders indoors.  Submissions should consist of a concept/design for a low cost, robust, real-time indoor tracking capability using current and emerging technologies, sensors and techniques, DHS said.

Ideally, a winning solution will be wearable, and able to self-report real-time x, y, z positioning, according to DHS. Additionally it should be “mission-agnostic,” meaning it could be used by law enforcement, firefighting, emergency medical services and/or emergency management.

“Indoor tracking is a critical need for first responders,” said Dr. Robert Griffin, DHS Deputy Under Secretary for Science and Technology and former firefighter and emergency manager. “When a firefighter runs into a burning building or when law enforcement raids a warehouse, incident commanders need to maintain situational awareness of the locations of team members.”

The total cash prize payout for this competition is $25,000, consisting of a first place award of $20,000 and a second place award of $5,000.

To submit ideas, the public can register at https://www.innocentive.com/ar/challenge/9933726. Winning submissions may be selected for development and operational use. All submissions must be received by April 2, 2015. More information is available in the Federal Register.

Posted by GCN Staff on Mar 05, 2015 at 12:40 PM


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