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Communication technologies and data processing for safety

Publication Date
  • Ing-Inf/03 Telecomunicazioni
  • Communication
  • Computer Science
  • Design
  • Medicine
  • Physics


Emergency workers comprise large professional groups like volunteer fire-fighters, police officers, emergency medical staff and so on. Their professions have to deal frequently with a considerable number of a combination of health and safety risk factors, which are often unavoidable. For example, workplace scenes demanding the intervention of emergency workers may be located in remote, difficult to access areas (mountains, sea, caves), and sometimes in extremely difficult weather conditions. Moreover, emergency workers must arrive very rapidly at the disaster scene at any time of the day or night, and there is always the possibility of car crashes or other transportation accidents on the journey to the disaster scene or to hospitals. Others examples are the industrial workplaces, which are inherently places with a high concentration of heavy machinery, fast handling equipments, high heat and pressure pipes, polluted and explosive areas where people work in a relatively small area. Therefore, in an environment where situational awareness and tactical decision making are critical elements to a successful operation, it is really important to have available efficient instruments to ensure the safety for all operators that work in the field. Despite the fact that a lot sophisticated solutions have been used for increasing request due to the growing need of safety concerns by the operators, the mission-critical environments are still considered high-risk environments with serious work safety related issues and higher accident rates than in other workplaces. This study focuses on the safety precautions in outdoor and indoor environments, safety communication and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and proposes solutions to ensure secure and reliable communications between forces deployed in the field and their dispatch center, which is often of decisive importance for the work of the emergency services, analyzing two different important case studies. Moreover, we have designed a control system intended as a platform for real-time information capable of monitoring, by means of camera and sensor data harvesting about people and vehicles movements. It provides automatic and semi-automatic risk prevention measures thanks to the work in progress on designing and implementing a first working prototype of sensor network based on RFID BAN. These capabilities are the topic of a larger research project that aims to find the optimal solution in terms of feasibility and practical implementation. To conclude our study, we have developed a indoor navigation system for mobile devices. The application is able to follow the user and it indicates the shortest path to achieve a specific destination. It uses only smartphone motion sensor and not requires the use of extra equipment. Moreover, thanks to an algorithm widely explained afterwards and the use of the gyroscope sensor rather than the compass, the mobile application ensure a very good orientation. The thesis is organized as following: - In the first chapter, to design a radio communication system both for health emergency services and Civil Protection services, different Professional Mobile Radio (PMR) standards was analized. PMR, also known as land mobile radio (LMR) in North America, are field radio communications systems which use portable, mobile, base station, and dispatch console radios. It has referred to a suite of radio mobile network tecnologies deployed for missioncritical users, which need high affordable communication system. In the specific, PMR networks provide radio services for closed user group, group call and push-to-talk, and call set-up times which are generally short compared with cellular system. In addition, they provide communications in extreme situations that might cause failures in other communications network, like 2G or 3G. As a result of the analysis of the main digital PMR standards (TETRA and DMR) used in European countries, we decided to use the DMR standard to design the radio network for 118 service in Sardinia and for Civil Protection service. DMR has been identified as the best solution, which grants cost saving, high coverage, spectral efficiency and simplicity in network configuration and it is well suitable in wide area with a low/medium density of traffic. - The second and third chapter of the thesis are focused on improvement of the safety of operators in a maritime cargo terminal. Hence, a new infrastructure of a maritime cargo terminal has been defined, using a control system for monitoring workplace safety. By combining, in the control system, the inputs from a Body Area Network (BAN) integrated in the safety equipment and from CCTV cameras, a human supervisor is able to achieve an accurate overview of the entire situation in terms of work safety and act accordingly when needed. In addition, we focused even on the design and implementation of a working prototype of an RFID-based BAN sensor network for actively monitoring and preventing workplace safety risks in the same industrial area. This first conceptual and technological analysis, together with the test implementation, is the forerunner of a complex monitoring system in development to be implemented both for the specific case and for any industrial environment. - The last chapter aims to describe an indoor navigation system developed for smartphone android. Specifically, it has been demonstrated how the use of a gyroscope sensor can brings more benefits respect to a compass sensor to get the best detected position. Nowadays, modern mobile devices, such as smartphones and PDAs in general, come to the market already equipped with sensors able to track them as they move, both in outdoor and indoor environment. The sensing technologies embedded in such devices make it ideal for a wide range of location-based services, such as navigation applications. An Inertial Navigation System (INS) uses motion and rotation sensors in order to determine the position, orientation, and velocity of a moving object/user without the need of external infrastructures. This is essential in an indoor environment where common localization systems, such as Global Positioning System (GPS), fail due to severe attenuation or obscuration of the satellite's signal. In inertial navigation systems, localization/ orientation estimation is source-independent. The user's position is calculated in relation to a known starting position using a dead reckoning algorithm and the orientation is usually provided by a digital compass embedded in the smartphone. A digital compass sensor provides the orientation of the device relative to the magnetic north of the earth. However, when it is used in indoor environments, like any magnetic device, it is affected by significant error caused by nearby ferrous materials, as well as local electromagnetic fields. Such errors seriously affect the performance and the accuracy of the system, thus the need to investigate any alternative orientation technique. In the specific, we have developed an early prototype of a pedestrian navigation system for indoor environments based on dead reckoning, 2D barcodes and data from accelerometers and magnetometers. All the sensing and computing technologies of our solution are available in common smartphones. The prototype has been further improved by a new algorithm described afterwards and now it is able to estimate the correct current position of the user, track him inside the building and provide the best path to achieve a specific destination.

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