Software Tracks Peoples' Location in Buildings

Many times, we focus on technology that strives to make our lives easier or that’s just plain cool. Too often, it’s easy to take the technology that helps to keep us safe for granted.

One new software system, called BEAM 3D, is a safety application that could prove to be invaluable for firefighters and other people in emergency situations. Malik Taaning and Claus Nielsen, students from the Engineering College of Aarhus, developed BEAM. This 3D mapping software pairs with a 3D sensor that is carried by a firefighter or other individual within a building. The sensor relays the location of people inside the building with the handheld device.

Details are a bit scant, but it appears that BEAM can show people moving in a 3D diagram on a handheld computer. BEAM can also show windows, doors, ceilings, and walls. The sensor, in the form of a small green box, communicates wirelessly with the handheld computer outside of a building to show the person’s position.

The biggest downside to the software is that it requires preloaded 3D plans of a building to be loaded on the handheld. In Denmark, where the software was developed, there are digital drawings of some of the newer public buildings that use a common standard and are readily available. As you can imagine, these drawings are a big asset for BEAM. Should the technology ever come to our shores, we would imagine a similar standard would be needed as well.

Beam 3D