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New Search And Rescue Tool Will Save Lives

21 October 2002

New Search And Rescue Tool Will Save Lives

A revolutionary new search and rescue tool that will allow rescuers to find people faster has received an Industry New Zealand Enterprise Award.

Find Minder is designed to be worn by search and rescue dogs and is being developed by South Island business K9NZ.

Find Minder builds on a dog’s natural ability to seek out subjects where humans cannot Find Minder developer and K9NZ owner Adrian Dance said.

“In search and rescue situations, it will allow rescuers to get to the missing person in a matter of minutes. It saves time and resources - and that means it can save lives,” said Mr Dance.

Find Minder is connected to a global positioning system (GPS) housed in a jacket worn by a trained dog.

Each jacket has electronic tags, one of which is removed by the dog when it locates a missing person (or other subject), or by the missing person themselves, if they are capable. Once removed from the jacket, the tag begins transmitting a long-range direction finding signal that can be picked up by searchers.

When the tag is removed, Find Minder also begins beeping, telling the dog to return to its handler with the location information for the subject stored in the GPS in its jacket.

Mr Dance explained that Find Minder eliminated the time consuming process of dogs having to identify the location of the subject, by running back and forth several times to the handler and taking them all the way back to the subject. Mr Dance said that dogs would return to the handler once the transmitter’s location was stored in the GPS.

“The system is a mixture of proven direction finding and GPS technology that maximises the effectiveness of search dogs and removes dog to handler distance limitations,” said Mr Dance.

Industry New Zealand offered K9NZ an award of $2,637 in August of this year. Mr Dance said the award will allow him to further develop Find Minder into a commercial product.

“The award will allow us to build three prototypes that we can use to begin marketing the product to interested buyers, said Mr Dance.

Find Minder could be used in any application where a dog may be used for searching and marking such as military, police, wildlife services and pest control operations said Mr Dance.

Paul Claridge, Industry New Zealand’s General Manager, Southern Region said that K9NZ’s new product demonstrated the success of Industry New Zealand’s support for small business through its Enterprise Awards Scheme.

“This is what we want to see. Small, smart companies, developing innovative products. K9NZ saw a gap in the market and came up with a brilliant solution to a critical problem, said Mr Claridge.

“Events in the past year have meant there is a global focus on making search and rescue operations more effective,” said Mr Claridge.

Mr Claridge said companies like K9NZ were what New Zealand needed.

“Most of our companies are small businesses. They are the backbone of the economy. We have to make sure that these businesses keep on growing and that they continue to come up with great ideas,” said Mr Claridge.

Entrepreneurs or small to medium sized business owners can receive a maximum of $20,000 from an Industry New Zealand Enterprise Award, which can be used to fund up to 50 percent of the cost of a project.

Small businesses and entrepreneurs interested in Enterprise Awards and other services and support from Industry New Zealand can look at the website

www.industrynz.govt.nz/business/bizenterprise-awards

More information on Find Minder:

www.k9nz.co.nz

Ends/…

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