Russian military engineers have created a new device to allow emergency rescue workers to detect people buried in wreckage and rubble from several meters away, RIA Novosti reported Monday.
The device, called Pikor, uses ultra-short pulse radio waves to detect heartbeats and moving diaphragms behind walls and layers of other building materials such as brick, concrete, wood, plaster and glass. It has already been successfully tested by the Emergency Situations Ministry, the news agency said.
Alexander Kalinin, head of the Moscow-based Construction Bureau of Experimental Work's department that built the device, has hailed the new instrument as a turning point in rescue work.
"Such a device is crucial for rescue operations when it is necessary to find people within an hour or two," Kalinin was cited by RIA as saying.
In addition to the emergency services, Pikor is expected to be used by the military and various law enforcement agencies, which can use it in raids and other operations to determine how many suspects are in a given area.
The device can "see" a stationary person through a 40-centimeter brick wall from 2.5 meters away and through 90 centimeters of sand at a distance of 1.5 meters, the report said. It can also detect people under two meters of snow. If the person is moving, the device will detect them from six to eight meters away.
The device is relatively compact, measuring 41 by 27 centimeters, and weighs 1.8 kilograms.
The instrument's inventor said it has already "attracted the attention of foreign specialists" and is now being tested by mountain rescue teams in India, the report said.