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ORCA saves sailors' lives


ORCANo, not the vicious killer whale from that 70s movie.  Going overboard? No problem. See, you're sporting the Orca (Overboard Recovery Communications Apparatus), a new device worn by deck personnel in the military that alerts the ship if, and when, you take a little involuntary swim.  The ORCA provides a unique ID for each individual, and it triggers pre-set messages to the bridge at the time of the big dive.  It is also capable of triggering several beacons at once (in case a few deck hands go down for whatever reason) and pinpoints each one using GPS. It lets nearby helicopters know what your name is, and to what ship you belong. And for those thinking more hellacious scenarious, the device even forces the host ship to redirect itself, helping to avoid any close encounters with the ship's propellers. Now, if we could just get these things for kindergarten kids, we should be all set.

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