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Yolián sitting at a table, wearing a firefighter's hat that contains the digital sensor she’s created that monitors firefighters' vital signs.
Yolián Amaro-Rivera
Hometown: Cidra, Puerto Rico
Current City: Mayagüez, Puerto Rico
Education: BS student, Computer Engineering, University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez
Hobbies: Watching movies, listening to music, talking to friends, being outdoors.
Fun Fact: "I love nature and belong to an environmental organization at school. My classmates call me 'the green girl.'"

I develop digital body sensors that can save the lives of firefighters.

—Yolián Amaro-Rivera

The hazards of firefighting
Battling fires is a notoriously dangerous and physically demanding job. But firefighters' biggest risk isn't injury, smoke inhalation, or burns. It's overexertion and extreme stress—heart attacks account for nearly half of all firefighters' deaths.

Monitoring signs of danger
Yolián is developing body sensors that monitor firefighters' vital signs while they fight blazes, measuring their heart rate, body temperature, oxygen levels, and blood pressure. The data is transmitted over a wireless network to a command station, which signals firefighters to leave the scene if they're showing dangerous signs of exhaustion.

Working under pressure
"I'm interested in how users interact with the devices," says Yolián. In emergency situations, a quick response and clear judgment are critical. "It's important to design a system that's simple and easy-to-use in high-stress situations."

What's her passion?
Helping those who help others. "The best part of the job is knowing my work can save the lives of people who put their own lives at risk to keep others safe." She's also excited by the future of wearable computing devices, called Body Area Networks (BAN), which is an emerging field. "Someday they'll be used with patients in hospitals, soldiers in combat, and athletes on the playing field."