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About R. James Duckworth

My electrical and computer engineering interests include multiprocessing, parallel computation, logic synthesis, embedded system design, autonomous robots, and computer architecture. Recently my research work has centered on the Precision Personnel Locator (PPL) for First Responders. This project started as a result of the tragic incident in Worcester in 1999 when six firefighters lost their lives in a warehouse fire. The overall goal of the PPL project is to protect the lives of emergency responders and to enhance their ability to accomplish their missions through research and development of systems for personnel location and tracking, physiological and environment status monitoring, and command and control. This project brings together diverse technical capabilities from other centers and laboratories at WPI to address important problems for emergency responders, the most critical of which is precise location knowledge for each person in a building. Knowing their location and paths at all times increases the situational awareness of the incident commander and allows rescue teams to quickly find a lost of injured firefighter. Both graduate and undergraduate students work on the project, giving them the opportunity for research and development at the state of the art in communications, computation, and positioning—an unparalleled experience. The work has been supported by grants and awards from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, FEMA, and various companies.


Present Affiliated with Robotics Engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Present Associate Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute


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Contact Information

Atwater Kent Laboratories, 301
Phone: +1-508-831-5204
Fax: +1-508-831-5491