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LightPointe FSO Used in Disaster Drill

LightPointe deploys free-space optics gear at Qualcomm Stadium during Super Bowl for special network and emergency readiness drill

January 31, 2003

2 Min Read

SAN DIEGO -- LightPointe, a San Diego-based company that uses invisible laser beams to send and receive voice, data and video communications through the air, provided three covert communication links during the Super Bowl for a national drill that could be a model for future Homeland Security activities. LightPointe provided the Free-Space Optics (FSO) communications links for the San Diego State University-led community drill known as the "Shadow Bowl" that tested a network of some of the most advanced communications tools available for responding to manmade and natural disasters. The LightPointe FSO links-mounted at the top of Qualcomm Stadium and other undisclosed facilities-provided fiber-optic capacity for the network drill without the need to trench or lay cable. The Shadow Bowl was designed to test the ability of emergency workers to use live video, audio and environmental sensor equipment to communicate real-time with medical professionals anywhere in the world. "When disaster strikes, whether it's the heavy hand of nature or the horrific result of terrorists, the people in the field need the best information available," said David Warner, an adjunct faculty member of SDSU's College of Sciences, who developed the drill in conjunction with more than 100 participating companies and public agencies. The exercise included earthquake drills and tested medical emergencies, gathering information from the field, which was transmitted through SDSU to medical and response agencies around the United States. Field workers communicated directly with physicians in Virginia, New York, Alabama and elsewhere, and with officials at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.The tests were conducted independent of police, fire and medical teams on hand for security for the Super Bowl. Official agencies were aware of the exercise and, had disaster struck, the Shadow Bowl team could have been called into action. Warner said law enforcement agencies see the Shadow Bowl as a possible template for homeland security efforts, while medical agencies see the exercise as a testing ground for dealing with disasters such as the 1997 earthquake that killed upwards of 20,000 people in Turkey or the terrorists attacks of 9/11. Additionally, this technology can be used for humanitarian assistance in Third World countries, which lack the communication infrastructure needed to respond to large crises. LightPointe Communications Inc.

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