If You're Buried Alive, This Camera Is Your Only Hope

Illustration for article titled If You're Buried Alive, This Camera Is Your Only Hope

The next time you're trapped under a pile of rubble that used to be a building, wedged into a spider hole, don't expect your local USAR team to pop their head in to find you. Instead, they'll send in this.


The SearchCam 3000 is a telescoping, waterproof camera for locating victims trapped in collapsed buildings. Built on a lightweight anodized aluminum frame, the SC3000 camera head articulates up to 240 degrees and fits though any 2-inch hole, while the extendible tube set extends from 14 inches to 19 feet. It can record either normal video or in infrared, peering as far as 20 feet into complete blackness, though a ring of LED lights at the tip illuminates dark and scary places quite effectively. It's also equipped with a high-sensitivity microphone to detect hidden survivors. The head is even submersible up to 100 feet for water rescue operations. The system records up to three hours of video as well as still shots of the search.

Once a victim is located, rescuers can use the mic and a small speaker in the camera head for two-way communication. I've gotta say though, if I'm stuck in a pitch-black hole, seeing a bright light approach ahead of a disembodied voice telling me everything will be OK is not what I want to see.

[via Con-Space]
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They've also been looking into training rats to find people by navigating gaps in rubble too small for dogs.


Dogs and bees and horrific frog cyborgs aren't the only ones good at sniffing. Rats are, too, it turns out. Also, if you haven't heard, there are tons of rats, especially if you live in a big city. Some cities have gone to extreme lengths to deal with their rat problems, and the things just won't leave. They're going to end up regretting that if they go through a natural disaster, though, because it turns out that rats are totally amazing at finding trapped people.

Since rats are tiny, love to explore small nooks and crannies, and have great senses of smell, DARPA and the University of Florida have devised a system that uses rats for disaster relief. The rats are trained to sniff out humans, find them, and then report it to the scientists monitoring them. How do they do that last part? Simple — the rats have a tiny backpack that transmits all its thoughts using radio waves. It's like rat brain Twitter.