Drones to the rescue! German lifeguards test quadcopters for rescuing swimmers

We already know how drones can deliver awesome video when the gear’s in the right hands, but a growing number of industries are also looking to utilize the technology to give them an edge in their own respective fields.

Thanks to a quadcopter’s ability to reach just about any location in super-quick time, search and rescue is also an area of increasing interest. The machines could come in useful for surveying a disaster scene before sending in rescue workers, or dropping supplies to those in need of urgent help.

Germany’s national lifeguard association, for one, has started testing drones for rescue scenarios, taking auto-inflating floats to swimmers in distress. Working with local drone firm Microdrones, the organization conducted trials over the summer, and recently posted a video (above) of its efforts on YouTube.

The sequence shows a swimmer struggling to keep his head above water. As a lifeguard begins to swim out to the scene, another on the shore flies a drone ahead. Once the drone reaches the panicking swimmer, the operator drops the float, enabling the swimmer to stay safe until human help arrives.

“One of the greatest obstacles to rescuing a drowning swimmer is that they panic and we often can’t reach them in time,” said Robert Rink of the lifeguard association. “After seeing [this], I have no doubt that drones will play a significant role in the near future of water rescue – and that we’ll see less fatalities as a result.”

Microdrones’ md4-1000 quadcopter comprises a carbon fiber housing and an integrated GPS system that allows it to fly and remain in position – even in strong winds – over the water.

The drone includes a video camera that allows the operator to see a live-stream so they can drop the float as close as possible to the swimmer.

The impressive demonstration shows clearly how the technology could become a vital tool for such rescue operations, its speed of deployment and ability to reach a scene in super-quick time obvious advantages.

Rescue services along some of Australia’s coasts are also developing drone technology, with part of their efforts focusing on using the remotely controlled copters to monitor the sea for sharks.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robotic companions and computer-aided karaoke

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!
Gaming

Here's our Champion's guide to picking the best character in Apex Legends

Apex Legends' use of heroes with different abilities helps separate it from other battle royale games. To help you choose your legend, we've put together a legend guide detailing their abilities, strengths, and weaknesses.
Product Review

With the S10e and S10 Plus, do we really need the Samsung Galaxy S10?

The Galaxy S10 is the middle child in this year’s Galaxy S10 range, between the Galaxy S10e, and the Galaxy S10 Plus. There’s no striking reason to buy it, but it’s still an excellent phone you’ll be happy with.
Gaming

The best of the last generation: Our 50 favorite Xbox 360 games

The Xbox 360 thrived during a generation where games were plentiful. Here's our list of the best Xbox 360 games of all time, including all game genres and even a few special indie hits.
Emerging Tech

Cheese tastes different when it listens to Led Zeppelin, Swiss study finds

A funky new study says that exposing cheese to music changes its aroma and flavor. What’s more, the genre of music matters. Researchers from the Bern University of Arts played music to nine, 22-pound wheels of Emmental cheese.
Emerging Tech

Astronomers plan to beam Earth’s greatest hits into deep space, and you can help

A new project from the SETI Institute (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) will give the public the chance to submit compositions to be beamed into space, with the aim of connecting people around the world through music.
Emerging Tech

Twitter is officially a teenager now. Are we raising a monster?

On March 21, 2006, Jack Dorsey sent the first ever tweet. Thirteen years later, Twitter has fundamentally changed the way we communicate. Here are some of the myriad ways it's done that.
Emerging Tech

Scientists have a way to turn off alcoholism: Blasting the brain with lasers

Researchers from Scripps Research have demonstrated that it is possible to reverse the desire to drink in alcohol-dependent rats by targeting a part of the brain using lasers. Here's how.
Emerging Tech

China has cloned its best police dog. Now it wants to mass-produce more

Scientists in China have cloned the Sherlock Holmes of police sniffer dogs, with possible plans to mass produce it in the future. Here's why its creators think that's a great idea.
Emerging Tech

Scientists use drone to map Icelandic cave in preparation for Mars exploration

Researchers from the SETI Institute and Astrobotic Technology have demonstrated a way that astronauts may be able to map Martian caves using a Lidar-equipped drone that can travel autonomously without GPS.
Emerging Tech

A 3D printer the size of a small barn will produce entire homes in Saudi Arabia

If you’re looking for a 3D printer that can comfortably fit on the side of your desk… well, Danish company Cobod International’s enormous new 3D house printer probably isn’t for you.
Deals

Need a ride? Amazon is slashing prices on popular electric scooters

If you’re not much of a cyclist or if you’re looking for a lazier way to zip about town, an electric scooter should be right up your alley. Two of our favorites, the foldable Glion Dolly and the eco-friendly Razor scooter, are on sale…
Emerging Tech

Unexpected particle plumes discovered jetting out of asteroid Bennu

The OSIRIS-REx craft traveled to asteroid Bennu last year and won't return until 2023. But the mission is already throwing up unexpected findings, like plumes of particles which are being ejected from the surface of the asteroid.
Emerging Tech

Trip to Neptune’s moon, Triton, could inform search for extraterrestrial life

NASA has proposed sending a craft to Neptune to study its largest moon, Triton. Studying Triton could offer clues to how liquid water is maintained on planets, which may indicate what to look for when searching for life beyond our planet.