VIVOTEK Lends a Hand to Dramatic Rescue of Miners in Chile
The predicament of trapped miners in Chile not only made headlines around the world and had millions transfixed by the daily updates on the progress of the mission to rescue them, it also served as a showcase for a VIVOTEK network camera. VIVOTEK’s FD8134 was not only a pivotal part of the rescue mission itself, it also provided footage seen in the media of the miners in the chamber deep underground in which they were trapped for those long weeks.
Even before the rescue operation took place, VIVOTEK network cameras had already been used by the local media in Chile to film animal rescue operations, and the operation of network operations had even been the subject of several television programs. Moreover, VIVOTEK cameras are a popular choice for surveillance applications in Chile and throughout Latin America. Still, nothing before would compare to the spotlight that VIVOTEK found itself in during the trapped miners crisis.


Codelco (Corporación Nacional del Cobre de Chile), which was given the responsibility of developing and implementing a rescue plan for the trapped miners, sought out VIVOTEK distributor Tecnologias IP LTDA, looking for a suitable surveillance camera. In addition to being able to provide real-time surveillance video, this camera needed to be able to provide video feeds to multiple points. After consultations, Codelco eventually settled on the VIVOTEK FD8134.
Soon after the miners were discovered to be still alive after the mine’s main access tunnel collapsed on August 5, one FD8134 camera was lowered to them through a small tube and installed in the shelter where they were trapped. With its built-in IR illuminator, the FD8134 was able to provide members of the rescue team and the public with clear footage of the miners’ living conditions, despite the lack of light 700 meters underground.
Though generally used for less demanding indoor applications, the FD8134 proved durable enough to withstand the harsh environment, where temperatures ranged from 32° to 34°C and relative humidities were stuck at around 90%. Critically, the FD8134’s support for multiple streams allowed simultaneous viewing by different members of the rescue team and the media at varying frame rates and resolutions as needed.

Even after the design and construction of the rescue capsule was finally completed, the FD8134’s role in the operation was far from over. In fact, its role became even more integral to the success of the mission. One FD8134 was actually built into each of two capsules-one of which was for backup purposes-providing operators working at a ground level with a clear, real-time view of the conditions in and around the capsule as it made each descent to retrieve a miner and subsequently returned to the surface with its very happy passenger.
The FD8134 was chosen as the "eye" for the capsule not only due to its admirable performance in monitoring the miners’ living environment, but because the extremely compact 479g camera could meet the capsule’s necessarily strict constraints on bulk and weight. With its superb H.264 high-definition video quality, the FD8134 also provided the whole world with vivid footage of the actual rescue phase when the video feed from the camera was presented by media around the world, including the BBC and CNN.
As it continues to provide best-of-class surveillance cameras to meet the needs of both conventional surveillance installations and special projects, VIVOTEK is proud to have done its part to bring this amazing rescue effort to a happy conclusion.
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