Enhences Your Chance of Surviving When in danger

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Natural disasters such as fire emergency and earthquake could happen in a short moment and cause great health damage to people. When people in an urgent situation, they may be too panicked to tell clearly 911 where they are or which floor they are on. The more time 911 spends to position the callers, the more chance of them becoming hurt. To deal with this problem, a new app named Sensory is able to locate an exact altitude of the user in a building, not like a pinpoint position by GPS.

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In a burning building, it is hard to calm down to tell the exact floor. Or a caller cannot speak when being kidnapped? William Falcon and Henning Schulzrinne at Columbia University in New York have come up with a way to accurately find out not only where in a building a caller is located, but the floor too. Their app, Sensory, can accurately identify how high up a caller is by analyzing GPS, signal strength and atmospheric pressure, which many smartphones are able to detect. “The GPS coupled with the strength signal of your phone gives a strong indication of whether you’re indoors or outdoors,” says Falcon. Although many smartphone including all iPhones released since 2014 have a function to detect their elevation about sea level, no one can input the elevation to compute on what floor.

Photo Credit: Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency/Getty

The pair was looking for volunteers to collect the data, which showed the different every floor they visited in buildings. By combining the altitude, the data could solve the problem that every floor largely varied from buildings to buildings. Not only that, the pair also worked out the average distances between floors in residential blocks and office blocks. Even if the floor data had not been collected, it also could be located.

The pair tested the app by visiting 63 floors in New York, including the Rockefeller Center. The test result showed the system could pinpoint a caller's location within two floors with 91% accuracy. The Metropolitan Police Service in London was interested in this great invention. “Any development that significantly assists emergency services in identifying the exact location of callers using mobile phones could be of assistance to us,” says a spokesperson.

News Reference: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2152366-phone-sensors-can-save-lives-by-revealing-what-floor-you-are-on/

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