l-Detect: Life Detection Under Debris in Disaster Zones

Lakshmi Poola, Luis Henrik John, Shrutkirthi S. Godkhindi, Preetham Reddy, Deeksha P. Rao, T. V. Prabhakar, R. Venkatesha Prasad

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review


The recent spate of natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods destroyed buildings and caused loss of lives. Many times, the loss of life is attributed to slow response and not being able to reach the survivors. In such scenarios, the staggering number of deaths in the aftermath of a disaster can be reduced if information about survivors under debris is available to first responders and rescue workers. Large-scale destruction of roads and other communication infrastructure makes it hard to deploy advanced technologies for life detection. We explore the possibility of using low-cost, low-power, short-range communication technologies to assist rescue personnel in locating life under debris. We have designed and prototyped a thermopile-based sensor and communication device that provides information about the presence of survivors. The system weighs under 20 gm and costs US $30 per unit. The device can easily be fitted on battery-powered toy bugs and robots that can autonomously maneuver under the debris. We have proposed three simple algorithms, which together detect humans with 100% to 88% accuracy for 0.5 to 4.5 m range with fewer false alarms. Our evaluation shows that the detection is robust enough under several harsh ambient conditions, temperature ranges as well and partial exposure of the human body.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2024 16th International Conference on COMmunication Systems & NETworkS (COMSNETS)
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)979-8-3503-8311-9
ISBN (Print)979-8-3503-8312-6
Publication statusPublished - 2024
Event2024 16th International Conference on COMmunication Systems & NETworkS (COMSNETS) - Bengaluru, India
Duration: 3 Jan 20247 Jan 2024
Conference number: 16th

Publication series

NameCommunication Systems and Networks and Workshops. Proceedings
ISSN (Print)2155-2487
ISSN (Electronic)2155-2509


Conference2024 16th International Conference on COMmunication Systems & NETworkS (COMSNETS)

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository 'You share, we take care!' - Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • thermopile
  • life-detection
  • infrared
  • low cost
  • debris


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