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Hebrew University's Nanotech Lab Tracks Researcher Locations, Emergencies

The school's Unit for Nanofabrication lab is employing an RTLS solution from LogiTag to identify researchers' locations, and to issue alerts if a worker presses a panic alarm on an RFID tag.
By Claire Swedberg

If someone presses the panic button on his or her badge, that alert is forwarded to the university's central security department, as well as to the laboratory's manager. The system can then display the messages on the screen, send a text or e-mail message, or trigger a siren.

For billing purposes, Eliav says, "We know which student used the lab, when they were there, and for how long. We also know who is booked to work in the lab. This information is sent to the university's billing software and provides them accurate data. It's all automatic, so no questions or arguments arise."

Hebrew University's Shimon Eliav
The lab is employing 35 or 40 tags. For the future, the school is considering adding a "man-down" function with the technology that would issue an alert if an individual remained still for too long, indicating he or she may have been overcome before being able to press the panic button.

Installation began during the third quarter of 2013, Matityaho says, and the system was taken live in the fourth quarter. One key challenge for the installation was caused by environmental conditions within the lab. Not only was there a great deal of metal present, but the lab also required clean-room conditions, which meant there could be no drilling or damage to walls or other structures inside. "Research is down to a nano-level, which means each dust particle can damage an entire study," Matityaho states. "Both the technology and the installation had to be done carefully" to accommodate these issues.

"The new system is really secure, and can allow the students to be alone in the lab," Eliav says.

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