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Rescue

Marine

Kymera powered body board gets electrified, approaches commercial release

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

Outdoors

Airlite inflatable snowshoes for deep-snow emergencies

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

Marine

Restube - a lightweight, compressed-air lifesaver deployed upon incident

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

Wearables

Waterproof fabric anntena could save people lost at sea

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

Robotics

Gemini-Scout mine rescue robot to lead the way to trapped miners

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

Mobile Technology

Calling all heroes: Fire Dept app could help save lives

Around three hundred thousand people in the U.S. are said to suffer sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) each year, so with survival rates standing at less than eight percent and brain death taking a grip just four to six minutes after an attack, every second counts. The San Ramon Valley Fire Department is therefore calling on members of the public who have been trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to help. A new location-aware iPhone app has been developed that notifies registered users within the 155 square-mile (401.5 sq km) San Ramon Valley, California region when their skills are needed to save lives. Read More

Marine

EMILY rescues swimmers when lifeguards can't

Riptides can carry hapless swimmers out into the ocean very quickly – by the time a lifeguard is able swim out to rescue them, it may be too late. Using a Jet Ski to reach struggling swimmers is one option, although such watercraft can be expensive, problematic to store on-site, and difficult to launch for one person. Now, seaside municipalities can get something cheaper and easier for reaching those swimmers-in-distress: an electric remote-control motorized rescue buoy called EMILY. Read More

Aircraft

Shape-shifting UAV designed for stormy sea rescues

People often need to be rescued at sea because of stormy weather – exactly the kind of conditions in which it is not safe to fly. Nonetheless, fully-crewed helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft are regularly sent out into such weather to perform maritime rescues, endangering both the crew and the expensive aircraft themselves. Soon, however, a new type of unmanned remote-control aircraft may be able to do the job. Not only would flight crews be kept out of harm’s way, but as demonstrated by a functioning prototype, the aircraft would outperform conventional planes in rough weather, thanks to shape-shifting technology. Read More

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