Archive for August, 2014

Toy drone disrupts aircraft fighting California wildfire

A private drone trying to film a wildfire that has charred nearly six square miles in Northern California briefly disrupted firefighting efforts, although workers had gained the upper hand against the blaze, officials said on Monday.

Fire officials spotted the drone over the so-called Sand Fire on Sunday and immediately called police to find the drone’s owner and have the toy grounded to avoid a possible mid-air collision, a California fire official said.

“That drone was flying within our air space and was a hazard for our aircraft,” said California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Kevin Lucero. “It essentially inhibited some of our operations going on.”

The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office told the Sacramento Bee newspaper that it was investigating the incident. It said the drone’s owner was a hobbyist trying to film the blaze.

Check out more information at news.msn.com

Thailand robot search and rescue in building collapse

Last night, BART LAB Rescue Robotics Team performed in a real search and rescue situation in the northern part of Bangkok where an under construction 6-story building has collapsed in the late afternoon.

Origami Robot Could Be Used In Search And Rescue Missions

Researchers developed a robot that employs a self-folding method inspired by the ancient art of origami.

The researchers found a way to coax flat sheets of composite materials to self-fold into robots with complex mobility, the American Association for the Advancement of Science reported. The findings were published in the August 8 edition of Science.

The new robots formed themselves through paper and shape memory polymers; these materials responded to heat above 100 degrees Celsius. The flat composite proved to be able to transform itself into a functional machine in only about four minutes; the final product can crawl at a speed of two inches per second. The new approach allows researchers to produce complex robots that can be scaled to different sizes and are strong for their weight.

Check out more information at hngn.com

China earthquake: Drone on-site plus other ways robots can help.

YouTube Preview Image The death toll continues to rise in China’s Yunnan Province earthquake and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, families, and responders.  The Chinese Army is already using drones to provide responders (as well as geologists and hydrologists) with assessment of damage in the remote, rural areas. In general, ground robots are not terribly useful in earthquakes unless there are significant building collapses where canines can smell survivors but robots are needed to crawl in spaces that responders and canines can’t get in.  Unmanned marine vehicles can be useful in help inspecting the underwater portion of bridges and rapidly determining river channels are open so that ships can bring in supplies.  So while robots are unlikely to directly save lives, they fulfill their goal of helping the responders help the survivors!