Drones: Search & Rescue

When you think of drones, it is either military or commercial toys that you don’t want spying on you. But there are good uses for drones that are not toys or military drones that will blow things up. One of those uses are for Search and Rescue Operations.

Search and rescue operations happen for various cases: people being lost in a forest, a boat stuck in the ocean, or making sure people are cleared of lava coming toward hopefully evacuated homes (recent hawaii example at the end). There are many other search and rescue cases but those are just to name a few. Some of the items used on these drones are cameras: regular and thermal cameras. Below RMUS show off an example video of a camera that can zoom in on objects a tenth to a quarter mile away.

Credit: RMUS.com Youtube Channel

Again below is another video from RMUS of a thermal camera capturing Feral Hogs in a field.

Credit: RMUS.com Youtube Channel

How do thermal cameras work? Thermal cameras work by collecting not visible light but infrared light. Infrared light is basically heat an object emits. Humans’ have a body temperature of ~98.6*F and a running car motor might have a temperature of 100*C. If we calibrate the thermal cameras to look for heat between 93-100*F or 100*C then we can isolate that heat source like in the video above.

When the threshold of heat is found, it turned it black for this example in the video above. Once the camera focused on the hogs for a little be we noticed that the black objects moved. This movement confirms a living creature and the operator can let search and rescue team know the location of the lost person. Granted not all lost people will move. Also there are limitations of infrared such as bodies of water can absorb infrared signals or metallic surfaces can reflect infrared from other sources to the camera and give false readings. But if the software is developed appropriately, the drone can filter those bad readings and give accurate readings back.

I am sure there are many other devices that can be used for search and rescue but having a regular zoom camera and thermal camera on drones can prove to be useful in finding people that are lost.
Below is a real search and rescue operation during Hawaii’s volcano eruption and lava flows.

Credit: USGS

Disclaimer: RMUS did not sponsor this article and this article is the opinion of Tinee9.com and not RMUS. Tinee9 is apart of various affiliate programs that if one was to click on a link and purchase an item, Tinee9 will receive a commission to help continue operate the website.


Little Bits vs Sparkfun Review

As I started my company last year initially making modules for Arduino or Raspberry Pi platforms I wanted to make a module that was as small as possible, have the ability to connect to it via stacking or planerly, and simple. As I started selling I already knew about Sparkfun but found Little Bits. There are some pros and cons about each of these companies and that is what I wanted to do a review on to show you the difference between the two companies.

Sparkfun ScreenShot

Photo: Screenshot of Sparkfun website


-Thousands of Modules

-Lots of software and hardware documentation via sparkfun or third party people

-Engage both electrically and software

-Well made and popular

-Versatile: works with arduino, raspberry pi, or own custom platforms


-Need some understanding of electronics

-Need extra items; Breadboard, wires, solder iron, etc

-Not color coordinated

-Not always intuitive

-Modules may not be reusable

Photo: Screen shot from Little bits website
Little Bits:


-Lots of Modules

-Lots of software documentation

-Engage more in software

-Well made and popular

-Color Coordinated


-Easy connectability

-Don’t need to understand electronics as much

-Don’t need extra parts; Breadboard, wires, solder iron, etc



-Does not engage teaching in the technical electrical side as much

-can be really bulky prototypes

-Software is not regular programming language

“Update saw that Little bits does integrate Arduino. Still not primary focus”

Overall Suggestion:

If you are a teacher or parent of a elementary or middle schooler and want them to learn about some electrical engineering or software development Little Bits is best.

Once your kid is in middle school to highschool to get more complex prototypes and smaller inventions spark fun modules will be the next step.

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Little bits or Sparkfun just the Amazon Affiliate program. I may get paid if you click on my links and buy things from Amazon which will help this blog/tech company keep going.