Streamlining ocean rescue

If you fall off a ship at sea, how will your rescuers find you? Using drones and dummies, an interdisciplinary team of National Science Foundation-funded mathematicians and engineers is tracking how objects move in real-world water environments. The team's findings may one day aid faster ocean rescues, speed oil-spill cleanups and even provide new tools to fight crop-killing plant diseases. When chemicals contaminate the ocean, disaster response is based on complicated simulations. This can take days for a computer to render -- meanwhile, ocean currents are spreading contaminants. That's not fast enough. How about shaving days down to minutes? Being able to predict a contaminant's movement allows for better disaster response, minimizing environmental damage, costs of cleanup and injuries on marine life. These same simulations can be used to help rescue people who fall overboard in the open ocean or help farmers forecast the spread of plant disease in the atmosphere, which can save huge costs on pesticide sprays.

Provided by National Science Foundation

Runtime: 1:25

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