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Automated Integrated Distress Device (AIDD)

Technology Summary

What is this product?

The Automated Integrated Distress Device (AIDD), is a new safety device that boaters can carry aboard their vessels. It was invented by George Borlase, a mechanical engineer with The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), in Laurel, Md.

What can it do?

Should mariners get into trouble, the device would automatically fire flares and flash a strobe to alert boaters within an 8-mile radius that help is needed.

How AIDD works

The AIDD is a cylindrically shaped, waterproof device approximately 12 inches tall with a small beacon on one end and a control switch on one side. Aboard a vessel, the AIDD would be mounted upside-down in a small metal bracket with a hydrostatic release, and stored in “automatic” mode. It would be placed near a boat’s captain or pilot house to be easily accessible when used in “manual” mode to alert a nearby rescue boat or helicopter. There’s also a “test” mode to ensure the replaceable lantern battery has enough power to operate the AIDD in an emergency.

If a boat sinks to depths of 20-30 feet, the hydrostatic release would automatically cut a strap, allowing the device to turn right-side up and float to the surface, which would trigger a strobe to continuously flash and flares to begin firing in a timed sequence. As a precaution to anyone near the device, a horn would sound several seconds before any flares were fired.

Photos

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Videos

What is the purpose of the Automatic Integrated Distress Device (AIDD)?

How would you use the AIDD device?

Where did the idea for this device originate?

APL’s George Borlase, inventor of the AIDD, demonstrates the device in “automatic” mode during tests of the prototype on APL’s pond in Laurel, Md., in July 2007.

George Borlase, AIDD inventor, demonstrates the device in “manual” mode during tests of the prototype, in July 2007, on APL’s pond in Laurel, Md.

A close-up of George Borlase, AIDD inventor, demonstrating the device in “manual” mode during tests of the prototype, in July 2007, on APL’s pond in Laurel, Md.

Product Contacts

Heather Curran
443-778-7262

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