Japan looking to use RFID tags to find disaster survivors

Japan looking to use RFID tags to find disaster survivors


The Japanese government has announced a plan to use RFID-tagged sensors to aid in the recovery of disaster survivors. The idea is to fly low over a designated area in a small plane or a helicopter, sprinkling thousands of sensors onto the ground, with the target being heat and vibration.

We’re not talking about inserting RFID tags into people—living or dead; rather, the tags will be targeted for finding signs of life, like a heat source or evidence of movement.

This is an example of using cutting-edge technology to solve an age-old problem: how to find people who are still alive in the middle of a no-communication zone. Japan is fraught with earthquake disaster peril, of course, as well as tsunami risk. Such disasters make investigation and recovery difficult. Roads could be blocked and surveillance flights made difficult. Even mobile phones might not work if the number of people seeking service at the same time is more than the network can handle. RFID tags, then, are expected to help find people when traditional methods cannot.