Using parabolic microphones for search & rescue

A member of the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Search & Rescue Team (San Jose, CA) contacted us back in 2015 concerning the feasibility of using parabolic microphones for search and rescue.  In particular, he was interested in determining if parabolic mics could aid in locating people lost in the wilderness.  The preliminary tests were all very encouraging so he made arrangements for a full-scale test in April of 2017.

The test consisted of placing people, simulating a lost person, at distances from 322 to 2510 meters from the searchers.  Searches, with and without the Klover MiK 26 parabolic microphones were then asked to locate the lost person when that person yelled out.  To be even more specific, the lost person was given a unique state name to call out.  The number of times that the searcher could not only locate the lost person but identify the particular state name was then tabulated.

The test results showed that the parabolic microphone did indeed aid in locating the test subjects.  In the words of Mr. Bowditch:

“The parabolic microphone aided comprehension both meaningfully and statistically at all distances. Between 322 and 1190 m, comprehension with the microphone was 86% vs 52% for unaided listening.  Between 1529 and 2510 m, comprehension with the microphone was 57% vs only 12% for unaided listening . These results show the parabolic microphone to be superior in both detecting and comprehending hidden subjects who are calling.”

The results of the testing were presented at the International Technical Rescue Association’s national symposium in November of 2017.  The results were also published in the Journal of Wilderness and Environmental Medicine,  the official journal of the Wilderness Medical Society.   You can read the full article here.

We are thrilled to say that the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Search & Rescue Team has purchased a Klover MiK 26 parabolic mic for their own use.

UPDATE

On April 8, the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Search & Rescue Team published this video describing their tests.

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