A drone developed by the German Fraunhofer Institute could be a great help to rescue teams. It is perhaps not an exaggeration to say that nothing shows better than the drone how much of a double-edged weapon technology can be. The flying device can be extremely fun to use in everyday life, and it’s also great for scientific purposes. But it can also be used to spy on others, or even as a weapon. No wonder the US military has recently developed a new weapon to disable drones.
Now, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany have come up with a new development to make it easier for rescue teams searching for people in trouble. But it’s not hard to imagine what their solution could be used for by those who would touch it with malicious intent.
According to The Washington Post, researchers have created a drone that can detect human cries and screams. Macarena Varela, one of the lead engineers on the project, told the paper that because drones can cover a larger area than land-based rescue units, a disaster – such as a house collapsing in an earthquake – could mean they could be of great help and a big chance for people in distress.
In the first phase of development, researchers recorded them screaming, shouting, knocking and making other sounds that a person in distress might make. They then used artificial intelligence to filter out ambient noises – such as the sound of a drone’s propellers – and showed the recorded sounds to the system to recognise similar ones.
The rest of the drone is nothing new. It uses the same microphone as smartphones to make the unit easy to reach and deploy. Varela says that in tests, the drone was quite efficient: it could determine where a human voice it detected was emitted in a matter of seconds. The engineers now plan to equip the unit with a microphone that can detect higher frequency sounds in the future, so that it can also detect distant shouts.