A new search device using mobile phone signals onboard the Coast Guard helicopter was used to find the lost hiker near Svínafellsjökull, South Iceland, on Wednesday.
The device was developed by Icelandic tech company Rögg Corporation in cooperation with the Coast Guard and the process took two years.
Óskar Valtýsson, head of telecommunications at Landsvirkjun, the national power company, came up with the idea and says that the reason for the long development process is that the device was quite complicated to build.
Óskar believes that the device is unique, telling mbl.is that a company in Sweden had been developing a similar device but the company has since collapsed. The device is reportedly garnering interest abroad.
The device is able to locate a person within a 60x60-meter grid and has been tested on glaciers and in crevasses, Óskar says.
One of the strengths of the device, according to Óskar, is that it transmits directly down from the helicopter but not to the sides and that way it reaches canyons and crevasses, which is in fact the biggest hindrance for people being able to use cell phones in the highlands because there has to be a direct line of sight between the radio transmitter and the cell for it to work.
A number of companies helped fund the development of the device, including Landsvirkjun, insurance companies VÍS, TM and Vörður, and Héðinn mechanical engineering firm.