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Rescue

Last year, much to the delight of squeamish people everywhere, scientists were successfully able to remotely control the paths traveled by live cockroaches. They did so by wirelessly stimulating the insects’ antennae and cerci sensory organs. Now, a group of scientists from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have reported success in controlling the paths of walking turtles. Fortunately for the reptiles, the KAIST researchers’ methods were considerably less invasive than those used on the cockroaches. Read More
If current technology trends are any indication, it's possible that human lifeguards could be replaced by robots in the future. So far, we've seen a remote-controlled rescue buoy and a salamander-like bot that travels on both water and land, among many others. Rather than having to cut through rough water to get to folks in trouble like many search and rescue robot designs, an Iranian research center proposes a quadcopter called Pars that launches from a floating platform and drops life preservers precisely where they're needed. Read More
When we last checked in with Jason Woods, he’d electrified his Kymera powered body board and was aiming for a 2013 release and US$5,000 retail price. To finally get the Kymera in the hands – or under the bodies – of consumers, Woods has now decided to go the crowdfunding route. The good news is that, if the campaign proves successful, supporters should be able to enjoy their boards this year, and for as little as $2,500. Read More
It’s been over 20 months since we last looked at the Kymera jet-powered body board and it’s great to see that its creator, Jason Woods, has stuck with his dream of developing a compact and lightweight personal watercraft. In the time since our last story, Woods has continued to plug away in his garage refining the Kymera, which now sports a new hourglass shape, has made the switch from gasoline to electric power, and has attracted the interest of search and rescue (SAR) teams. Most importantly, the Kymera is nearing commercial availability, with Woods aiming for a release in 2013. Read More
Cerberus, from BriarTek, is the overarching brand name for an electronic search-and-rescue beacon system built for wilderness and off-the-grid use. The system offers three distinct functions - Cerberlink, CerberTouch and CerberCenter - and uses smartphone and satellite messaging to keep you in touch with the outside world. Read More
We were almost afraid to click on the link for a "human backpack" that we recently came across. Turns out, though, it's not a horror movie prop, but a backpack designed to carry humans. It's a military/survival accessory created to carry your buddy out of the field on your back. Read More
Trudging through knee- or thigh-deep snow is far more tiring - not to mention freezing - than walking on solid ground. If you find yourself caught in the middle of a snowstorm without snowshoes, you could get into trouble quickly. Airlite inflatable snowshoes give you a lightweight emergency back-up, that lets you walk atop the snow and get out safe and sound. Read More
Most anyone that can swim can handle a float across the pool without significant risk of drowning, but being out on a large, open body of water like the ocean or a lake brings dangers to even the surest swimmer. While a personal flotation device (PFD) is a simple solution that will keep you afloat, it can be restricting and cumbersome to wear, making it uncomfortable for athletic activities like surfing or kiteboarding. The Restube gives you some of the life-saving power of a traditional flotation device without the unwanted bulk and discomfort. Read More
A patch about the size of the leather name tab on a pair of jeans could save your life one day – should you be stranded at sea, that is. In a project overseen by the European Space Agency (ESA), researchers from Finnish company Patria and the Tampere University of Technology have created a flexible fabric antenna, that can be sewn into life vests. Once activated, that antenna transmits its coordinates to earth-orbiting satellites, that can immediately relay the location to rescue personnel. Read More
The Chilean and Pike River Mine disasters in 2010 highlighted the dangers of sub-surface mining and the difficulties faced in extracting those trapped beneath the Earth. Collapsed mines pose countless dangers, not just for those trapped but also those attempting to free them, such as poisonous gases, flooded tunnels, explosive vapors and unstable walls and roofs. Dealing with such potentially deadly conditions and unknown obstacles significantly slows the efforts of rescuers. To help speed rescue efforts, robotics engineers at Sandia Labs have designed a robot to provide that most valuable of commodities for first responders - information. Read More
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