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by Peter Familari

19th January, 2018


A drone used to locate and drop a lifesaving flotation device to a pair of swimmers in distress, saved their lives.

The dramatic rescue reported by the Sydney Morning Herald was described as a history-making event.

The drone, a model called the Little Ripper UAV (Unmanned Flying Device) was sent to pinpoint the swimmers’ location by lifeguards manning the shore at Lennox Head on the Far North New South Wales Coast on Thursday, January 18, 2018.

The lifeguards were reported as saying it only took a couple of minutes to launch the drone, fly it to the location and drop the life-saving flotation device.

The dramatic drone rescue follows a $430,000 investment by the NSW government in 2017 for drone technology trials on the NSW North Coast.

The two swimmers used the flotation device to reach the shore and safety where lifeguards were waiting. Both were reported as fatigued but otherwise unharmed.

This world-first drone led rescue is one more reason drones are becoming an integral part of daily life.

Drones are regarded as this year’s must-have technology by industry experts who predict the genre will be in hot demand by average consumers.

A sample of what we’ll be buying is the tiny, $169 (AUD) toy drone called the Tello. So small it sits easily in the palm of a child’s hand, the Tello debuted to delighted visitors at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Developed by Chinese Startup, Ryze Tech, the Tello is a sophisticated device loaded with technology sourced from Intel and DJI.

Intel supplies the Tello’s processing chip while DJI chimes in with flight stabilisation technology.

The Tello carries a decent quality camera that records 360-degree video and streams live footage to a tablet or yet-to-be-named third party VR headsets.

Visitors to the show say the Tello is a doddle to fly and has automatic take-off and landings features.

The Tello will also respond to hand gestures thanks to its built-in Intel Myriad 2 VPU.  It’s used in the Tello to tell it to hover in one spot without deviating much and land on an outstretched palm of a hand.

The Tello is indeed small and light weighing just 80 grams. It’s said to have enough power to keep it flying for 13 minutes before requiring a recharge of its onboard battery.

So light, it isn’t built for outdoors use where a strong gust of wind could ensure its quick demise. But indoors it could prove to be a clever labour saving device.

If a small drone such as the Tello disturbing your privacy would have you reaching for a flyswatter, think again. Tiny, inexpensive drones make good sense in a number of industrial and commercial applications.

Prime candidates for the Tello are large warehouses and storage facilities. We can imagine it being used at say, a Bunnings store by staff to check stock levels in shelves. Some Bunnings stores have the same length as a football field, and transport hubs can be ten times this size.

Photo capturing capability is 5-megapixels as the Tello buzzes down aisles and above shelves.

The Tello is already available but listed as 'out of stock' or 'sold out' at most local outlets we checked.


Posted in: Technology & Smart Homes
Tags: tello  drones 

Peter Familari's avatar

Written by:

Peter Familari

Peter was formerly the Audio-Video Editor of the Herald Sun for over two decades. One of the most-respected tech and audio journalists in Australia, Peter brings his unparalleled experience and a unique story-telling ability to GadgetNET.

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