University High School InvenTeam

Irvine, CA
Aerial Wilderness Search System

The University High School InvenTeam invented a communications system that attaches to an autonomous unmanned aerial drone to help locate lost hikers in remote wilderness areas. The system consists of the drone that flies over a pre-programmed search area scanning for a distress signal emitted by a wearable radio beacon
transmitter worn by the missing person. The distance range for signal detection is up to 300 feet. Upon signal detection, a camera on the aircraft takes geo-tagged snapshots of the surrounding area. Image and GPS coordinate data are logged onto an SD card that is retrieved from the aircraft and analyzed by search and rescue (SAR) personnel. The system can reduce search times by 30-50% and costs 70-80% less when compared to traditional SAR techniques by enabling a more targeted and efficient rescue response. The aircraft with accessories costs $1,200 and the wearable radio beacon transmitter costs $25.

Watch their 2015 EurekaFest Video


May 13, 2015

Over the past couple of weeks, the team finalized the technical setup, compacted the system, and fixed some problems with logging data onto the SD card reader. There were two setups for the Arduino unit on the receiver end. The Arduino was connected to a receiver board, which was activated by the key fob (wristband radio beacon) that transmitted the signal. In one setup, the Arduino was also connected to the SD card reader and the camera; in the other setup, the GPS unit replaced the camera.

April 17, 2015

The team had a table display of our project during 8th Grade Family Night on Wednesday, April 15.  We got to show off the hardware and describe the project to incoming freshman and their families.  Over 200 people stopped by our table.  It was a great event to celebrate the work we are doing and promote the LMIT InvenTeam program.

April 14, 2015

     Over the past few weeks, the team has mainly worked on the technical aspects of the project, focusing on the GPS shield, the SD card reader, the IR camera, and the signal detection system. The team proceeded to work on the wristband radio beacon and found a way to incorporate it into a watch-type wristband.

February 16, 2015

During the past few weeks, Team B has worked on the communication between two Arduino microcontrollers. They have succesfully built a receiver-transmitter system. The receiver is accurately and consistently receiving signals from the transmitter. They have also integrated a camera with the system; the camera takes a picture upon receipt of a signal. The receiver will be placed on the drone, while the transmitter will be on the beacon.

January 24, 2015

January 19, 2015

Since the past couple of weeks, each team has allotted specific tasks for its team members to increase productivity and efficiency. Putting our plans into action has required each team member to step up to their tasks and dedicate more time to the project. Therefore, instead of meeting every Thursday morning only, we now have mandatory team meetings every Wednesday and additional project work time on other weekdays as well. Our new implemented plan allows us to get more work done and communicate our progress better.

December 11, 2014

After receiving the Quad Kit in mid-November, Taymour Mowafak and Sam De Raimondo from TeamAircraft and Ali Shelton from TeamBeacon, completed assembly of the quadcopter. Two team members who assembled the quadcopter provided their first hand experiences with it:

December 11, 2014

Troubleshooting flight issues with drone.



November 17, 2014

Welcome to University High School's InvenTeam blog. This is Alex Dao, the team's administrative lead, and Josh Jia, the administrative assistant, bringing you some updates. After our press release in mid-October, the University High School InvenTeam has reached out to several news outlets. Our district wide NewsFlash blog and school newspaper wrote stories about us receiving the InvenTeam grant. We are continuing our media outreach as our progress on the aerial search drone continues.