We have a great relationship with the University of Maine and as such, we work closely with a number of students in various engineering departments within the College of Engineering here on the Orono campus — such as Biomedical Engineering, and Mechanical and Electrical Engineering. We are fortunate to have the support of UMaine, department heads and  key faculty. Their encouragement, guidance and valuable expertise offered to the students is rewarding.

The students, both graduate and undergraduate, undertake valuable, ground-breaking research projects and others study, design and assemble useful tools/devices. The students’ work assists DEEMI directly in our UAV program, and ultimately in the field of Search & Rescue in general.


The study and research areas include some advanced photographic image and video analyses to determine patient bio statuses such as:

Dakota at Eng SYmposium 04-17-18

Estimating a victim’s body weight from a computerized 3-D model formed from dozens of photos taken by our drone, and applying a developed algorithm. They were able to achieve an 85% effective rate within a 10 pounds. Upon finding a downed, lost or immoble subject, this is a valuable tool for pre-assesment and determination of medicine dosages.

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Two undergraduate students conducted a research study entitled “Patient Vitality/ Body Temperature identification and Image Optimization via Search & Rescue UAV Infared Imaging.  They did laboratory studies with a UAV infrared camera to assess human condition accurately, efficiently and non-invasively..

  • Dakota and Jessica PPT on UAV IR imaging for body temperature
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A model to determine a subject’s respiration rate by using an enhanced video algorithm has been developed by one student. This technique is in early stages of development but looks very promissing. A drone would land or hover near the person and record video, which could be live-streamed to the operations center for immediate study and analysis. (note: image at left grabbed from the internet until we upload our own)

A graduate student is working on an advanced color spectrum anlyses processing tool with special algorithms that will provide rapid digital review of large quantities of aerial images taken with our drone and filter out any images that contain a targeted skin tone color or clothing color, thus creating a priority subset of images that  should be reviewed first. 

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UMaine symposium mech eng student

We are teaming with mechanical engineers and biomedical students who are developing assessment tools that will gather a subject’s biomedical data and wirelessly trasmit it back to our medical doctor for review. These tools would be delivered via UAV/drone to a self-assist person, or be dropped in an effective proximity for operation near an unconscious person.  The biomedical data being reviewed and studied include body temperature, heart rate, respiration rate, maybe blood pressure, and more.

DEEMI Umaine team on UAS SAR sensors

In the design and assemble working models areas include a remote controlled land rover and a drop pod, both to be dropped from a UAV.

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A prototype remote controlled land rover was developed that can be field-deployed via drone with the ability to traverse rough ground terrain to reach a lost, disorriented or incapacitated person in need, bringing them medical supplies, water, communication devices, etc. and perhaps patient assessment devices. The land rover was designed, built and land tested, awaiting to be deployed.

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Two versions of a ‘drop pod‘ that can be dropped from a UAV above tree level, that parachutes down to a victim, able to deliver a various assortment of needed supplies. These pods have been 3-D printed and one has been sucessfully field-tested, dropped from a UAV. Future versions will include an automatic deployable parachute.