UFRO helps survivors of disaster situations communicate with rescuers.

Photo Credit: O'Colly

Photo Credit: O'Colly

After disaster strikes, it is hard for rescuers to know if people are stuck under debris or in other small spaces. The Unmanned Flying and Rolling Orb (UFRO) helps firefighters communicate with survivors to better understand their location and medical needs. 

UFRO was designed by Ben Loh, a mechanical engineering doctoral student. According to O'Colly, Loh's invention is a small flying device that travels like an airplane and hovers like a helicopter. UFRO can land close to survivors and uses cameras and microphones to allow them to communicate with rescuers. It also has the ability to roll, so if it is knocked to the ground it simply rolls to a landing and gets right back up again. This also allows the device to roll through tight spaces to get closer to survivors. 

Loh designed the device with a bulletproof vest and waterproof coating to ensure it is useful in any situation. The one limitation is that UFRO only has a travel time of about 15 minutes before it runs out of juice. 

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