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This drone tracks human screams (to save lives)


A team of researchers from German Institute Fraunhofer FKIE he has created a drone that can locate screaming men. While it looks like dystopian fictional stuff, it’s actually something they set out to create to make it easier for first responders to find survivors after a natural disaster.

“(Drones) can cover a wider area in a shorter period of time than rescuers or trained dogs on the ground,” said Macarena Varela, one of the project’s chief engineers. In the Washington Post. “If there’s a collapsed building, it can alert and help rescuers. It can go to places where they can’t fly or get to themselves.”

To create their drone, the researchers first recorded screaming, touching and producing other sounds that anyone in need of help could make. They then used those recordings to form an artificial intelligence algorithm and modified the software to filter out ambient sounds such as the roar of drone rotors. Outside of software and UAVs, the rest of the system is not that complicated. The team used the type of microphones you can find on your smartphone, mostly because they wanted to keep the drone light and agile.


Varela said In Post the Fraunhofer FKIE team conducted several successful open field tests in which their drone was able to estimate the situation of someone “within seconds” of picking up the sounds they were making. As a next step, researchers plan to add a higher-frequency microphone to a prototype to make it better to detect sounds at longer distances.

This is not the first time scientists have thought about using sound to increase the capabilities of a drone. Last year, a team of researchers at Purdue University developed a system that allowed a UAV to navigate. using four microphones and a speaker. At the sound of it, something could come from this last project. The Fraunhofer FKIE team said In Post they were approached by several organizations that wanted to associate with them.

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