Just how can a smartphone help save lives? Indirectly, it can be used to call up an emergency number when a situation unfolds in front of you, but how about a more hands-on aspect? Researchers from Harvard have managed to merge the functionalities of a smartphones as well as a metal detector, ending up with PETALS – short for Pattern Enhancement Tool for Assisting Land mine Sensing. The whole idea behind this is to come up with a cost effective method to detect land mines in Third World countries, all without having to send people to go through rigorous training so that their ears are able to tell the difference between a deadly explosives or a tin can.
This new system eliminates a certain degree of the guesswork as it will map beeps on a smartphone display, where it will create a silhouette of whatever is located right below the surface. While similar results have been achieved using acoustic sensors, but they have been confined to research projects so far, and are more likely to be far more expensive than possible for the layman to afford in places where they’re required the most.
Initial tests with novice de-miners showed a performance improvement of up to 80% using PETALS – cool!
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