Archive for the ‘In the News’ Category

Now, shape-changing ‘squishy’ robots that tread over extreme conditions for rescue ops

Engineers have created a shape-changing “soft” robot that can tread over a variety of adverse environmental conditions including snow, puddles of water, flames, making them useful in search and rescue operations.

Check out more information at zee news.india.com

RCMP use drone to find family lost in the woods

On Saturday at 4:30 p.m., two adults and their 17-month-old child entered the woods off the Highway 107 extension. The Dartmouth family got lost and called police around 8:30 p.m. Sgt. Linda Gray with Halifax District RCMP tells Global News that police tried using sirens to pinpoint where the family was but did not have any luck.

A drone was deployed, and the family was found in a heavily wooded area northeast of Topsail Lake. Police located the family and walked them out of the woods around 2 a.m. on Sunday. There were no injuries.

Check out more information at globalnews.ca

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!

Electronic nose to guide search and rescue robots

A robot that can be guided by an electronic nose invented by a postgraduate student could aid search and rescue missions following natural disasters.

During her postgraduate stay at the Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM) in Mexico, Blanca Lorena Villarreal developed a device that allows multiple robotic platforms to follow the path of certain odors.

The olfactory system is based on artificial intelligence algorithms that enable the detection of the scent of alcohol, but with some modifications to the system and the algorithms it can be made to recognize other chemicals and odors such as blood, sweat or human urine.

Check out more information at eandt.theiet.org (registration to this website is free and is needed in order to view this article).

FAA approves Washington State use of UAS for Wildfires

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources has been granted permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to use UAS to monitor wildfires, particularly in an emergency.

Check out more information at auvsi.org

Robot to Use Hiking Poles to Cross Disasters

Last year at the Stanford-Berkeley Robotics Symposium, we saw some tantalizing slides from Oussama Khatib about a humanoid robot that used trekking poles to balance itself. We were promised more details later, and the Stanford researchers delivered at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) this year, where they presented the concept of SupraPed robots.

The idea is equipping robots with a pair of special trekking poles packed with sensors that, according to the researchers, “transforms biped humanoids into tripeds or quadrupeds or more generally, SupraPeds.” By using these smart poles to steady themselves, the robots would be able to navigate through “cluttered and unstructured environments such as disaster sites.”

Check out more information at spectrum.ieee.org

Soon, ‘nature-inspired’ flying robots for search and rescue missions

Scientists from London have come with “nature-inspired” drones or flying robots that will eventually be used for everything from military surveillance to search and rescue.

Check out more information at zeenews.india.com

Finnish Mobile Urban Situation Awareness System Robot

Some 13 researchers from various universities in Finland, including IEEE members Riku Jäntti and Heikki Koivo, have created the Mobile Urban Situation Awareness System,or MUSAS, for short. The system combines information from any number of devices, including handhelds, to provide an overview of an event, and transmits it all to a central location. Information can come from cameras, wireless sensor network, wireless LANs, mapping software, wearable wireless sensors, and remote-controlled robots. With this system, multiple agencies and their rescue operations can be coordinated successfully, especially during times of disasters and emergencies. More lives can be saved as this system can create a map of the area that pinpoints both the location of victims and first responders.

Check out more information at theinstitute.ieee.org