Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Firefighter's guardian angel is a palm size robot

18.01.2007
Rescuing the rescuer will be committed to history as fire and rescue squads join forces with teams of 'canary test' robots, which reduce on-the-job dangers and search times - ultimately saving lives.

Industrial fires, explosions and chemical contamination are dangerous circumstances fire and rescue teams face on a daily basis. However small explorer robots, currently being created by Sheffield Hallam University, will soon be the first team to enter buildings to assess for structural soundness, dangerous airborne chemicals and locate small but smoke generating industrial fires. Ordinarily, these instances could not only impede rescue of casualties through time delay, but also endanger the rescuer.

Jacques Penders, a senior research fellow at Sheffield Hallam, is working in partnership with South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and four other European organisations, to develop two mini robotic miracles. Named the 'Guardians' and the 'Viewfinders', both robots are just 16cm in diameter.

Jacques said: "In fire and rescue there are many hidden dangers, such as structural soundness of buildings, or when thick smoke is masking the rescuers entrance or escape route, which can severely impair their senses. The Guardian and Viewfinder robots will assist in the search and rescue by ensuring the communication link and helping the human team to estimate the safety of the path they are taking and the best direction to follow."

Time is critical, especially at search and rescue incidents. Initially fire crews might be committed to the incident to lay out guidelines and mark out a route to the fire or casualties, and, just as importantly, a safe route back to the outside.

Unfortunately this basic process can lead to tragedies such as at Gillender Street, London in 1992 when two fire fighters died. The victims became confused in the smoke and lost their exit route. They couldn't be found due to thick smoke when their air ran out. The Guardian robots could help avoid this situation.

The intelligent Guardians work in large teams of thirty, communicating independently to each other and the firefighters; similarly to a mobile phone connection. They distance themselves as beacons, depending on the signal strength, to ensure constant contact. The swarm then gleans information from each of their routes to detect fires, human danger and obstacles which are then reported back to the firefighters.

Neil Baugh, Station Manager from South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue said: "It is not like in the movies where rescuers can go straight into a situation and save casualties. As the incident commander I have to ensure the safety of my team first in order to help others. The creation of these robots will help save time, and assist in the safety assessment of the incident. This is vital time we can then spend in rescuing casualties."

The Viewfinder robots use chemical sensors and video cameras to map safe locations for the crew to access in partially destroyed industrial sites, after events such as explosions. Working in a team of three, this information will be communicated back to a central human user point.

Jacques Penders, who works in the Materials and Engineering Research Institute at Sheffield Hallam, concludes: "Terrorism and particularly the London bombings have put pressure on fire and rescue services to be more aware of chemical dangers. But there is a lot of information they need to know, and their full-time job is fighting fires! The ongoing relationship between ourselves and South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service will mean we can help by sharing our knowledge with them."

Both projects have been highly commended in the European Commissions' evaluation and began in January 2007. Over the next three years the techniques will be further developed and adjusted for firefighting. These advanced techniques create opportunities that will be transferable into the home, where robots may assist handicapped residents.

Other international partners include Belgium's Royal Military Academy and Space Applications Services. Italy's Galileo Avionica, Universita Degli Studi di Roma and Intelligence for Environment and Security. Poland's Przemyslowy Instytut Automatyki I Pomiarow (Polish institute for robotics) and Greece Eidikos Logariasmos Erevnon Dimokriteiou Panepistimiou Thrakis (University of Thrace); Heinz Nixdorf Institute Padeborn (Germany); ETU University Ankara, Turkey; University JAUME 1 Castellion (Spain); K-Team (Swiss robot manufacturer), Robotnik (Spanish Robot manufacturer) University of Coimbra, Portugal.

Donna Goodwin | alfa
Further information:
http://www.shu.ac.uk

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Smart Computers
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht AI implications: Engineer's model lays groundwork for machine-learning device
18.08.2017 | Washington University in St. Louis

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>