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MIT Technology Review

The tech behind the Thailand cave rescue

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As of this writing, eight boys have been rescued from Tham Luang cave, and—in addition to some amazingly brave humans—there is some technology to thank.

Some background: A missing soccer team and its coach were found nine days after they were stranded in a flooded cave system, about 2.5 miles from the entrance. A rescue mission has been under way ever since.

Thanks, but no thanks: Although SpaceX CEO Elon Musk offered the services of his rocket company to create a submarine for the boys, rains steadily worsened the situation, and seasoned cave divers had to work quickly.

The tech: Drones, zoom lenses, and thermal cameras were used to create the first 3-D aerial map of the region and scout for cave access points. Powerful handheld radios have allowed the rescuers to communicate with the soccer team from long distances despite a lack of radio infrastructure in the area.

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