The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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ECE Projects Recognized as Vodafone Finalists

Two projects developed in our Electrical and Computer Engineering Department were chosen as finalists for the Vodafone Americas Foundation’s Wireless Innovation Project and recognized at the Global Philanthropy Forum. One of the ECE finalists was DIORAMA ("Dynamic Information Collection and Resource Tracking System for Disaster Management”), which was developed by ECE Professor Aura Ganz and her colleagues to respond quickly to mass-casualty accidents and coordinate the rescue operation. The second finalist project was the CASA Emergency Management Information System (EMIS), which will allow smart phone users for the first time to control the information a sensor network is collecting and will permit emergency managers to deliver that information more accurately in the interest of public safety.

The Wireless Innovation Project is a competition to promote innovation and increase implementation of wireless related technology for a better world.

Professor Ganz has developed her DIORAMA project with a number of research assistants from the Multimedia and Networking Lab, as well as colleagues from the Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the National EMS Preparedness Initiative, and Office of Homeland Security. The CASA EMIS team members are Michael Zink, David Westbrook, Eric Lyons, Heather Bell, and Brenda Philips.

DIORAMA provides a real-time scalable decision support framework built on rapid information collection and accurate resource tracking. The system improves identification of victims and the management of emergency resources, such as response teams and hospital assets, during mass-casualty accidents. The DIORAMA system, based on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, can rapidly map out the exact location of the most severely injured victims at an accident, as identified by the first-response triage team, so ambulance personnel can find and evacuate the most critical cases ASAP and transport them to appropriate hospital facilities.

CASA’s EMIS technology will help emergency managers protect lives and property from severe weather outbreaks, such as tornados. The innovation is using a wireless mobile device to control and receive data from a heterogeneous distributed network of adaptive radar weather sensors. A further innovation is the use of a specifically tailored application that provides situational awareness, collaboration between experts, route planning, and sensor control based on data from this adaptive sensor network.The CASA EMIS project will increase lead-time and decrease false alarm rates by giving forecasters geo-located immediate ground-truth information from weather spotters and emergency managers.

The application will also offer better situational awareness to emergency managers, spotters, and first responders by giving them access to up-to-date weather, routing, and hazard information, which will significantly enhance the safety of all personnel in the field.

The Vodafone Americas Foundation is part of Vodafone’s global network of 23 foundations. The foundation is affiliated with Vodafone, the world’s leading mobile telecommunications company, which operates in 26 countries over five continents. (June 2010)