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Researcher develops software to help first responders

Ram DantuRam Dantu, right, professor of computer science and engineering, has developed a new 9-1-1 software system using smart phone technology that virtually places 9-1-1 operators at an emergency scene, helping operators to gather the most accurate information possible to better prepare first responders.

Dantu developed the system with the support of a National Science Foundation grant. Dantu worked with Krishna Kavi, professor of computer science and engineering; Parthasarathy Guturu, associate professor of electrical engineering; and researchers from Texas A&M University and Columbia University on the project.

Dantu will present the software at the 2013 National Emergency Number Association Conference June 15–20 in Charlotte, N.C., where emergency operators will use the software and give feedback.

“First responders need as much accurate information as quickly as possible during an emergency, and we are using technology already available in smart phones to bring 9-1-1 operators closer to emergency scenes than ever before,” Dantu said.

The software system offers text-to-speech technology for clear communication, remote control of smart phone cameras so an operator can view an emergency scene while controlling the lighting and zoom of a caller’s camera, breathing and vital sign monitors so an operator can accurately gauge a victim’s status, and a CPR monitor displaying compression depth and rate that will allow an operator to accurately coach a caller on giving CPR.

Breathing Demo

Breathing Results

A caller’s view (above) and operator’s view (below) in the process of determining a victim’s breaths per minute.

A caller can place their smart phone on a victim’s torso and the emergency operator will be able to view the victim’s breaths per minute. This kind of information is valuable to emergency medical technicians, and helps emergency operators decide whether to direct a caller to give CPR.

“If the caller does need to perform CPR on the victim, they can place or attach their smart phone on top of their hands and then begin. The system will tell the operator how effectively they are performing CPR and give the operator a chance to tell the caller to change the speed or depth of their compressions,” Dantu said.

In case communication is lost with the operator, the phone itself also is equipped to generate CPR feedback using alerts built into the application.

CPR Demo

CPR Operator

A caller’s view (above) and operator’s view (below) of a caller administering CPR to a victim.

“Some smart phone users may have concerns about privacy and security with the use of this program,” Dantu said. “When a person downloads the application and launches it for the first time, the application is designed to disclose all of its capabilities and ask the user to opt-in to allowing emergency operators access to their phone’s sensory hardware. In a sense, this is the same as granting tech support remote access to a computer for a short period of time.”

- Leslie Wimmer, News Promotions

Posted on: Thu 06 June 2013

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