Looking like it crash-landed from the merry old land of Oz, a series of seven surveillance video cameras inside a bright orange steel probe shaped like a flattened space capsule, withstood a tornado to deliver the first-ever video at ground level â€“ just 10 feet from the tornadoâ€™s eye.
Freezing the debrisâ€™ movement was crucial to using a technique called photogrammetry to calculate the wind speeds at ground level inside the tornado. â€œYou can see the veins of leaves as they fly past,â€ he pointed out.
Samaras measured the distance a stick of debris traveled during the 16.6 milliseconds between its two appearances in successive video frames of the same camera to estimate the wind speed.
The probe, which is made of one-quarter-inch steel, has seven mini-DV recorders on the bottom of it underneath the cameras, which peer through windows of half-inch Lexan. One camera points directly up.
The entire probe weighs 85 pounds and is hermetically sealed and waterproof. A single switch turns on all the cameras and hard drives.
For more information, visit www.thunderchase.com. For information about KT&Câ€™s products, visit www.ktncusa.com or call (888) 767-CCTV.