Air Force

Crowdsensing app that locates lost persons

Enables the location of lost children or others not carrying smartphones

Communications Software & Information Technology

The U.S. Air Force has invented a way to locate lost persons who are not carrying mobile phones, like children or the cognitively disabled, through a crowdsensing app.

The patented technology is available to businesses who would develop it into an available product.

Air Force scientists invented the technology as part of a system to track soldiers and vehicles. In it they have addressed the challenges of participation inherent in a practical crowdsensing system.

Known as the opportunistic crowd sensing (OCS) system, this technology enhances the effectiveness of detecting a tagged object or person by using an innovative wireless communication mechanism, which minimizes the potential inconvenience or complexity of the crowd sensing participation.

The automated sensing application also addresses the issue of energy efficiency and ensures the privacy and security of the participants.

In practice, a small, low-cost electronic tag is attached to a monitored object or worn by a child or person and emits a secure wireless beacon periodically for identification by a smartphone running a software application.

The app runs in the background and opportunistically collects and reports the acquired signal without the active involvement of the user. This information is sent to a cloud server along with the geolocation of the phone so that a parent or authority can confirm the whereabouts of the child.

If the child goes missing, the parent can issue an alert that will, in turn, inform participants to monitor signals from the missing person’s tag.

The system utilizes the cellular infrastructure, and does not use GPS, making it energy efficient and functional indoors.

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