For many skiers and snowboarders, there is nothing quite like being the first to make tracks in the virgin snow, off the regular piste. But this can be a fateful decision, because the risk of avalanche is many times greater here.
Once buried under a mass of snow, a person’s only hope of survival is if their location can be pinpointed swiftly. If not rescued within half an hour, their chances of being found alive diminish rapidly. Victims stand the best chance of being saved if the uninjured members of their group start searching for them immediately – but for that the buried victim needs to be wearing an avalanche beacon.
“In the experience of rescue teams not everyone actually carrys beacons,” says Wolfgang Inninger of the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics IML. “However, nearly everyone has a cellphone. This is why we decided to enhance our automatic geolocation system that works with Galileo, the future European satellite navigation system.” To do so, two new components have been added to the ‘avalanche rescue navigator’ ARN: a cellphone location function and software that calculates the position of the buried victim on the basis of local measurements. Starting from the approximate place where the victim is thought to be lying under the snow, the rescuers measure the field strength of the signal transmitted by the cellphone or beacon at three to five reference points.
The system then uses a highly precise calculation algorithm to pinpoint the source of the signal, indicating with high probability the location of the buried victim. In this kind of situation, the position relative to the rescue team’s starting point is more important than the absolute position relative to global coordinates, which may be subject to measurement inaccuracies. This gives the rescuers immediate information on the direction and distance from their present location at which the victim can be found.
For their development work on the system, the researchers are using the GATE Galileo test and development environment in Berchtesgaden, where transmitter antennas installed on six mountain peaks simulate the Galileo signals. The researchers intend to combine these signals – and the real ones, after 2012 – with signals from existing satellite navigation systems such as the American GPS and the Russian Glonass, and to add signals for error estimation and correction. The project is being implemented by a consortium of regional companies, institutes and universities in collaboration with the Berchtesgaden mountain rescue service and the police, and is being sponsored by the German Aerospace Center DLR.
Wolfgang Inninger | EurekAlert!
Information integration and artificial intelligence for better diagnosis and therapy decisions
24.05.2017 | Fraunhofer MEVIS - Institut für Bildgestützte Medizin
World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world
18.05.2017 | RMIT University
The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.
The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
29.05.2017 | Earth Sciences
29.05.2017 | Life Sciences
29.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy