BBC News: UAS Finds Missing US Man in 20 Minutes

A model drone has helped locate an elderly man in Wisconsin who had been missing for three days.

Search teams using dogs, helicopters and volunteers had combed the countryside around Fitchburg seeking Guillermo DeVenecia. The drone found Mr DeVenecia, who has Alzheimer’s, about 20 minutes after its operator joined the search effort. The success may put pressure on US rules limiting the use of drones in search and rescue operations.

Check out more information at

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 (registration to this website is free and is needed in order to view this article).

Northrop Grumman & Yamaha Motor Build Unmanned Helicopter System for Wildland Fire Fighting

Northrop Grumman Corporation and Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A., have agreed to work together to develop and market an innovative small, unmanned autonomous helicopter system.

Called the Rotary Bat (R-Bat), the new system merges a proven airframe produced by Yamaha, with the latest autonomous control and intelligence-gathering technologies for use in urban environments for applications such as search and rescue, power line inspection and forest fire observation.

Check out more information at

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

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

All girl team brings SAR robot to White House

The White House hosted its annual science fair Tuesday, May 27, 2014 with a special focus on girls and women who have excelled in the science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM, fields. Katelyn Sweeney and Olivia Van Amsterdam from Natick High School showcased an invention that is able “to traverse ice and deploy a small, submersible robot into the water to carry out the preliminary search pattern”. The two girls designed the robot through the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams program. The remotely operated vehicle can go 40 feet deep and withstand temperatures as low as 33 degrees.

Check out more information at