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Rescue

— Drones

Crash-proof drone put to the test in jagged glacial crevasses

Early last year a team of Swiss technologists was awarded US$1 million in prize money for a crash-proof drone designed to maneuver through confined spaces. With drones that detect landmines, replant forests and service slums to contend with, the Gimball rose above its competing entries to take out first prize in the United Arab Emirates' Drones for Good competition. Now the drone's real-world durability and potential as a life-saving search and rescue aid have been put to the test in deep the crevasses of the Swiss Alps.

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— Robotics

Search-and-rescue robot could give locusts a better name

Despite the fact that locusts are held in fairly low regard by us humans, there's a chance that you may one day be rescued by one … or at least, by a robotic locust. Working with colleagues at Israel's Ort Braude College, researchers from Tel Aviv University have created a tiny locust-inspired robot that can reportedly jump over twice as high as other similarly-sized devices. They say that it could ultimately find use in search-and-rescue operations at disaster sites.

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— Drones

Drone attachment scans disaster zones for breathing and heartbeats

Getting drones into the air to aid in search and rescue missions is becoming one of the technology's more promising applications, with infrared cameras and even artificial intelligence offering valuable new tools in combing areas for humans and objects. But one company is looking to add yet another layer of sophistication to robotic rescue teams, launching a drone-attachment that can detect the heartbeats and breathing of people trapped under rubble.

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— Outdoors

RECCO streamlines helicopter search and rescue

RECCO is well known within skiing and snowboarding circles. For decades, the Swedish company has been supplying ski patrols and rescue agencies with an avalanche rescue system that helps locate buried victims. It is now working on a more versatile, year-round system designed to make helicopter-based search and rescue faster and more efficient.

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— Drones

Lockheed Martin's drones widen the net for search and rescue missions

Spreading eyeballs as widely as possible can make all the difference in the early stages of search and rescue operations. With the recent rise of drones, this has come to include getting eyes up into the sky to give some first responders an aerial perspective. The latest move to enhance search and rescue efforts comes from Lockheed Martin, which will team up with non-profit Project Lifesaver to help locate people with cognitive disorders that wander away from their home. Read More
— Good Thinking

New maritime monitoring system would draw on existing satellites

According to a scientist from the University of Leicester in the UK, the search for missing ships and sea-crossing aircraft – such as Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 – would be much easier if existing satellites were simply used differently. Dr. Nigel Bannister is developing a system in which spacecraft that already keep an eye on the land could also turn their attention to the sea. Read More
— Science

Sound-steered cyborg cockroaches could help save human lives

If you're ever trapped in a collapsed building and are calling for help, you might want to think twice before squashing any cockroaches that wander your way – one of them might have been sent to find you. Researchers from North Carolina State University are currently laying the groundwork for such a scenario, by getting cyborg-like "biobot" cockroaches to move towards sounds. Down the road, such insects may be used to locate victims at disaster sites. Read More
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