Three students of the School of Mathematics and Natural Sciences of Brawijaya University in Malang, East Java, have crafted a device to detect the location of earthquake victims who are buried under building debris.
Adin Okta Triqadafi, Satrio Wiradinata Riady Boer and M. Rikza Maulana called their invention Deoterions, which is their abbreviation for "detector of interconnected position points". They said the fact that Indonesia is prone to earthquakes and has many active fault lines across the archipelago had inspired them to create the device.
“The purpose of this invention is to speed up the relief of the victims by finding their positions under the debris after the earthquake,” Rikza, one of the team members told The Jakarta Post on Friday.
Adin also said that because there is still no technology to find earthquake victims, search and rescue teams usually only rely on excavators, sniffer dogs and the cries for help from the victims.
The Deoterions, which is only the size of a credit card, has to be acquired ahead of time and already be in a victim's possession, either attached to a cellphone or kept in a wallet. The device could send out 915 Mghz radio frequency signals as far as 10 kilometers from the position of the victim. That signal can be received by other Deoterions users.
“The victims do not need to activate the device; the other Deoterions users can activate it. There will be flashing green sign on their cellphone screen; if the flash gets quicker that means they are closer to the victim’s location,” Adin said.
The device could also determine a victim’s condition. If he or she loses consciousness the cellphone screen of the rescuer who is trying to find the victim would flash with a red signal.
“Deoterions has a patent from [the Directorate General of] Intellectual Property Rights, but we haven’t put it in Play Store. We still want to perfect the device,” he added.
The team said it believed the device could also be used to find victims of landslides and plane crashes.