WPI’s Personnel Location and Tracking Technology conference gets national press

August 03, 2011

WPI’s annual International Workshop on Precision Indoor Personnel Location and Tracking Technology has received a good amount of local news coverage during its six years. But the most recent two-day workshop, which concluded yesterday, drew the coverage of the Associated Press, as well as the Telegram & Gazette, Worcester News Tonight and Worcester Business Journal.

 The technology is designed to help firefighters and other emergency responders quickly locate and rescue colleagues who become lost, disabled or trapped inside buildings. The WPI workshop is the only comprehensive forum in the field, bringing together industry, academia and government, the public safety community, and representatives of federal, state and local governments to discuss progress made in indoor location technology and to see how actual prototype location systems perform in realistic search-and-rescue simulations.

The Associated Press story, which related the genesis of WPI’s research – the loss of six Worcester firefighters in the December 1999 Cold Storage warehouse fire – also explained why this research is important to the Department of Homeland Security, the agency that was formed in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks 10 years ago. Hundreds of New York City firefighters were lost, and their commanders were hampered by the lack of ability to communicate and track them once inside the Trade Center towers. WPI is widely recognized as the leader in this critical area of research and development, and our faculty researchers, who have been involved with this program for more than a decade, are internationally known for being the standard-bearers in their field.  

The story, by AP reporter Johanna Kaiser, has generated at least 278 placements in such media as The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, Huffington Post and Fox News.  In addition, Boston news radio station WBZ  taped an interview with Associate Professor Jim Duckworth yesterday. Professors Duckworth, David Cyganski and John Orr, all of the Electrical and Computer Engineering department, have been the prime movers behind the research and annual workshop.

- Martin Luttrell, Marketing and Communications

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