Beneath seemingly calm waters sometimes lurks a deadly hazard, the riptide. These dangerous currents can pull a swimmer away from shore in moments. Many swimmers try to swim against the riptide; strength is quickly exhausted and the swimmers start to panic.
Trained lifeguards rescue more than 10,000 swimmers a year from riptides. However, a rip current is also a danger to the savior. These lifeguards are taking an enormous risk. This can be especially true if a rescue is required on a frozen lake, pond or river.
We are a group of high school students and we think we have an idea that could reduce some of that risk, and help keep a persons head above water when they need it most. Under the guidance of our mentor, we have refined this idea into a simple, inexpensive product that anyone can learn to use.
Our project started out of a Robotics course after our teacher introduced us to Bill Piedra who showed us what drones were capable of and explained how this amazing new technology is evolving fast.
We were fascinated by discovering that more than one million small drones are in use around the world today, and their primary application is aerial photography.
Mr. Piedra then challenged us to think of other applications for this emerging technology. Then the question was asked; if drones can carry cameras at the beach why can’t they carry a life preserver? As we began to tinker and experiment, Project Ryptide was born.
Project Ryptide is a small, lightweight drone accessory that can deliver an automatically inflating life preserver to a swimmer in trouble. The simple mechanism can be attached to a drone in a few seconds and weighs less than the typical GoPro camera and gimbal commonly used by drone operators.
Automatically Inflating Life Preserver
The system we designed carries a SOLAS* approved life ring approximately 600mm (24") in diameter that uses a CO2 cartridge to automatically inflate upon contact with water. The ring provides approximately 18KG of buoyancy and can also be inflated manually. The system can be recharged and used again with a recharge kit.
- Automatically Inflates Upon Contact with Water In 5 Seconds
- S.O.L.A.S* Approved ( *Saving of Lives at Sea )
- Compact Design - Approximately 385 Grams
- Rechargeable - Can be used Over and Over
Under the guidance of Mr. Piedra we designed a reliable drop mechanism that can be used with many different drones including the popular DJI Phantom™ .
Drone Preserver Can Save Your Drone from Unscheduled Water Landings!
Flying a drone over water can be a risky and scary proposition. A water landing can result in the loss of an entire system costing thousands of dollars. Many drones today will sink to the bottom if landed on water.
The Ryptide system can be affixed to most drones to keep them afloat in the event of an "unscheduled water landing".
The entire assembly weighs less than 365 grams, but provides 18KG of buoyancy. The system inflates automatically upon contact with the water in less than 5 seconds. We can't make your drone waterproof, but the Drone Preserver can definitely keep it from a premature watery grave.
Attached to the ring are two super strong vinyl loops made of the same material as seat belts. Attaching the system only takes a few seconds with the included mounting hardware.
The drop mechanism uses the same radio channel that is used to control a camera gimbal on many drones. If you fly a drone that can carry 450 grams then you can use one of our Project Ryptide devices.
- Installs in Seconds
- Easy to Remove
- Uses Gimbal Channel
- Simple Proven Design
Our Advanced models use an Arduino Pro to drop up to 4 life rings using a single channel on your radio. Each press of the drop switch on your radio will drop one ring.
3D Printed Mounting Parts
Users of the basic model of Ryptide will be to attach it to a DJI Phantom drone out of the box in just a few seconds. Our 3D Printed mounting platform has been designed to accommodate all models of Phantom.
For users of other drones, we're including a kit of 3D Printed parts that will adapt to a wide variety of camera mounting systems, including 12mm mounting rails used on many systems today.
We will not only provide you with the printed parts, but we will provide you with the .STL files and Google Sketchup models so that you can modify them and print your own.
In addition to the standard mounting parts, .STL files and Sketchup documents, every model that we ship will also include zip ties and high strength weather proof tape for improvised quick mounting in the field.
Open Source Hardware
The advanced models of Ryptide use an on-board Arduino Pro microcontroller so that more than one life ring can be dropped using a single channel on the operator's radio. Each press of the radio switch will drop a single ring, for a total of up to 4.
We will publish the C++ source code we wrote to drive the on-board Arduino Pro. Advanced models of Ryptide will include this software pre-loaded and tested before shipping.
All of the 3D Models and STL files we use to print the mounting brackets, drop mechanism and other Project Ryptide parts will also be made available as Open Source Hardware so that you can build your own Ryptide.
Works with Splash Drone
Ryptide can easily be adapted to be used with water proof drones, including the popular Splash Drone which is being offered on Kickstarter until April 8, 2015.
Applications for Ryptide
The applications for the product is not just limited to beaches with riptides. Our product can be used for:
- Frozen Lakes & Ponds
- Surfing & Kite Boarding
- Fire, Police, EMS & Other First Responders
If you have another idea as to how Ryptide can be used, please let us know. We might be able to arrange for you to receive a test unit.
Why We Need Your Help
Project Ryptide has gone through extensive testing and development. We’ve done live testing in a pool, on beaches and have even tested the life ring system on a frozen pond. We’re ready to produce them on a larger scale and want to take the next step.
In order to build a large number of these devices we need to purchase some tooling and set up a small facility for manufacturing them. We would also like to use part of what we raise fund field trips for additional research and testing with fire and rescue organizations who have agreed to help us.
We are actively seeking feedback and will refine designs as needed.
We're not proposing that this product could ever replace a trained lifeguard or take the place of other safety equipment. We're just hoping that our simple device can augment the water safety tools that are in use today.
Anyone can learn how to use Project Ryptide with just a few minutes practice. In fact we are including dummy payload so users can practice using the system with a floating payload instead of the inflating ring.
Our most basic model is designed to be used with any of the popular DJI Phantom™ series drones. Most of our prototyping and testing was done with a Phantom, but we have also developed a larger version of our system that can carry multiple life rings, as well as a small First Person View (FPV) Camera.
Drone Operator Rewards
Remember: Safety is something that happens between your ears, not something you hold in your hands.
If you don't own a drone, but love our idea, please support us with one of these special rewards. We'll use the proceeds to further refine our product and go on a field trip to test it more thoroughly. Your generous pledge will make a difference.
The Ryptide Team
Testimonials: "Ryptide is an amazing opportunity to use technology to prevent drowning as well as protect the safety of rescuers." – Dave Cutler, Inventor of iSwimband
The Fine Print
Risks and challenges
We did not have time to get US Coast Guard approval for the Ryptide system. This requires a series of controlled tests. The life ring that comes with Project Ryptide is SOLAS approved which is an internationally recognized standard.
We have spent considerable time and money to source parts from reliable vendors in the US and abroad. We are very confident that we can manufacture a virtually unlimited number of Project Ryptide devices using this supply chain, but ramping up to fulfill a very large number of backer rewards may take extra time.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (35 days)