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 Cutting edge research for the industries of tomorrow – DFKI and NICT expand cooperation
21.03.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI

nachricht Molecular motor-powered biocomputers
20.03.2017 | Technische Universität Dresden

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>