According to a post on ubiks.net, the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) is developing a system whereby RFID ( Radio Frequency Identification Tags ) could be sprinkled from the sky over disaster areas that would send out alerts on locations of survivors.
The post is reprinted below —
The Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) started developing a system that allows for detailed information gathering about a disaster area by sprinkling RFID sensor tags from the sky (possibly using helicopters.) The sensor tags will be used to collect various information about a disaster — perhaps most importantly, if anyone is alive. The tags are about several centimeters wide/high and equipped with heat, infrared, and vibration sensors.
The plan is to sprinkle the tags at a disaster area where communication infrastructure is destroyed (imagine a big earthquake) and use them to detect the heat from fire and the heat and vibration from survivors’ body and send out the gathered data through a mesh-like network. The ministry thinks that about 10,000 tags will be needed to cover an area as large as a big airport. They aim at finishing their technology R&D by 2007 (and deploying the technology in the “real” world.)