Integrated Smart Device for Emergency Management

Title of the research project

IDEAL SENSOR - Integrated Smart Device for Emergency Management

Scientific area

Artificial intelligence, Simulation and modeling tools, Civil engineering

Project coordinator

Gian Paolo Cimellaro


The project aims at developing wearable wrist band and a customized structural health monitoring system for managing emergencies. The system will be able to work in different emergency situations without depending on available power and common communication networks.

Description of the research project 

Each year worldwide, hundreds of first responders to disasters (fire, earthquake, flood, etc.) suffer injuries and some of them die because they can’t get out of collapsed or burning buildings, while similarly trapped and injured people cannot be easily detected inside  damaged buildings affected by different disasters.

The Ideal sensor project explores  the new concept of wearable sensors during an emergency and proposes a feasible, reliable, and low cost solution to improve  the emergency response, and consequently, save more lives.

The project will test a  prototype of wearable device (similar to a smart watch), providing not only general purpose services (fitness, entertainment, health, etc.) already available in products currently in the market, but also a comprehensive solution for localization, healthcare monitoring and other.

The device will be part of an infrastructure allowing  indoor /outdoor localization of people in case a disaster occurs and also health monitoring of people and buildings. The system is composed by fixed and moving nodes, the last one being the smart devices. It collects data (location, vital signals, etc ) from them and sends it automatically to the server  through its onboard GSM module and without using Wi-Fi and mobile phones.

The solution proposed by Ideal sensor substantially differs from the currently available ones because the system will be able to work not only without internet connection but also in case of power outage, allowing  an accurate identification of the position of injured people, creating maps of victims and permitting to act in a more efficient way during the rescue operations.

Impact on society  

The wearable market is developing rapidly and statistics show that there is a large amount of demand in this industry sector. In the market, there are few applications and devices for first responders and fire-fighters, but the developed systems are focusing on the emergency teams only and not on victims. The new idea proposed by Ideal Sensor is to focus both on the emergency responder side and on the victims’ side, establishing  a link between the victims and the emergency teams and so allowing the first responders to act quickly in finding and saving people.

The primary market sectors potentially interested could be Industries operating in hazardous conditions and First responders operating after a disaster. Secondary commercial targets are building control and automation companies, schools, health care facilities, insurance companies.

Short CV of project coordinator 

Associate Professor in the Civil Engineering Dpt. of the Politecnico di Torino  and Visiting Professor at the Univ. of California, Berkeley. He obtained his M.S. (2005) and Ph.D. (2008) from the Univ. at Buffalo (SUNY) in USA.  Graduated cum laude in Civil Engineering, University of Rome La Sapienza, 2001.  He is the Chair of the ASCE Committee on “Disaster Resilience of Structures, in USA.  He has been invited to 3 Keynote lectures and 30 seminars worldwide. He has authored 40 journal papers, 98 conference papers, 11 book chapters and 2 books.  Research interests: community disaster resilience and sustainability to natural disasters.  Selected awards: Fib Achievement Award for Young Engineers (2011); Seed Grant Award from the Siebel Energy Institute of UC Berkeley (2015).  

     IDEAL SENSOR project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme  grant agreement No 727261

  • Budget: 150.000 euro
  • Start date: 1/04/2017
  • End date: 30/09/2018