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A NASA Spinoff With A Real World Impact That NASA Will Ignore

By Keith Cowing
NASA Watch
May 31, 2022
Filed under
A NASA Spinoff With A Real World Impact That NASA Will Ignore

Toyota Connected ‘Cabin Awareness’ Concept Uses New Tech to Detect Occupants, Toyota
“Toyota Connected North America (TCNA), an independent software and innovation center of excellence, today introduced its Cabin Awareness concept technology that uses millimeter-wave, high-resolution 4D imaging radar to help detect occupants (including certain pets) in cars and has the potential to detect them if ever they’re left behind. … Inspiration for the Cabin Awareness concept came from microwave radar technology created by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to support underground rescues after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal in 2015. In this application, NASA engineers and rescuers were able to detect human breathing and heartbeats under more than 30 feet of rubble, helping responders know where to dig holes. “NASA’s use of radar technology was inspiring,” said Kursar. “The idea that you can listen to heartbeats using contact-less technology opens up new possibilities to give Toyota the potential to produce a service that is beneficial to the evolution of our in-vehicle services.”
Using Space Radar To Hear Human Heartbeats in Nepal, SpaceRef (2015)
“On 24 April 2015 a 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal – a nation woefully unprepared to respond to such an event. Nearly 300 aftershocks of magnitude 4.0 or greater have rattled the country for the past month. One especially large aftershock of magnitude 7.4 on 12 May caused the already-shattered infrastructure to collapse further. Nepal needed help – help that did not rely upon a non-functional infrastructure. Much of the help was traditional. But some of that help arrived in the form of assets in space and space-derived assets on the ground. One piece of NASA-developed hardware utilized in Nepal was able to detect human heartbeat amidst huge piles of rubble. And it saved lives. Other machines orbited overhead in space analyzing the earthquake itself and how Nepal changed as a result. Both technologies shared similar technology.”
Radar Device Detects Heartbeats Trapped under Wreckage, NASA Spinoffs (2018)
“In the early 2000s, the Department of Defense approached JPL wondering about the possibility of using remote sensing to determine whether there were troops alive on a battlefield and to take remote biomedical readings. Some work was done, and Lux says the latter application could still be of interest for monitoring astronauts in the International Space Station, for example. But funding dried up.”
Keith’s note: A piece of innovative NASA technology has truly spun off to inspire a possible commercial product by Toyota that could affect millions of consumers. Let’s see if NASA even notices.

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.

2 responses to “A NASA Spinoff With A Real World Impact That NASA Will Ignore”

  1. jimlux says:

    Well, that’s pretty nifty (although I’m biased, because I’m the progenitor of FINDER)