Yesterday the National Science Foundation helped unveil a new smartphone app that may change the way people in an emergency communicate with operators responding to 911 calls. Developed by a team from University of North Texas headed by Ram Dantu, the Android app sets up an automatic data and audio/video link so that operators can control some settings of the caller’s camera, send text to the phone that is read aloud by the speakerphone, and gather any data like heart rate and blood pressure measured by the phone itself. It also has a feature that provides automatic monitoring of CPR chest compressions, guiding the user to adjust both the rate and depth of arm movement. You simply wrap the phone into a plastic bag or anything else that can stay on the hands, and start the compressions. An female voice immediately begins telling you your rate and how you should adjust it. There’s also work to make the app automatically and continuously share the phone’s location and also identify which floor of a building it’s on, even if the caller is moving.
NSF previewed a video during a press webcast where all these features were demonstrated. The app is currently undergoing testing with a limited number of users and is going to be presented next week at the 2013 National Emergency Number Association conference in Charlotte, N.C. It seems that the app would require the cooperation and investment from emergency call centers to implement this technology.