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 UT professor develops algorithm to improve online mapping of disaster areas
29.11.2016 | University of Tennessee at Knoxville

nachricht New standard helps optical trackers follow moving objects precisely
23.11.2016 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>