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Lynx6-A is a drone-based vital sign detector for first responders and law enforcement

California-based IntelliNet Sensors is looking to shake up search and rescue with a new drone add-on that can detect survivors in a heap of rubble following a disaster, reports International Business Times. The robot module can be attached to any unmanned aerial vehicle, providing it with the ability to detect both the heartbeat and breathing pattern of survivors from the air.

The Lynx6-A module contains a micro-sized HD camera that provides an aerial view of the recovery site and a specialized ultralight sensor capable of detecting vital signs that are buried under debris. The technology detects electromagnetic signals and is sensitive enough to filter out a breathing pattern and heartbeat from background noise. It also can distinguish between the two vital signs. The modules can form a network using IntelliNet Sensors’ patented Sense-Through-The-Air technology, which lets rescuers use multiple Lynx-equipped drones to triangulate the vital signs of multiple survivors at once.

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According to the researchers, the technology provides a significant advantage over existing SAR detection methods that rely on less accurate radar-based techniques and dog detection. “We measure the electromagnetic signal of the volume, which is different from radar,” said IntelliNet Sensors founder and president Dr Fred Mohamadi. “We have an indication of the survivor’s chest movement from breathing, as well as the heartbeat of the person.”

IntelliNet Sensors’ Lyn6-A robot module is available commercially and has been adopted by emergency services in three countries, but export restrictions prevent it from being sold worldwide at this time. While it waits for export approval, the company is equipping DJI Phantom drones with the robotic module and is displaying its technology to California law enforcement and similar agencies, who have been monitoring the efficacy of the solution. The company hopes to present its performance results in early 2016.