Thursday, 18 Aug, 2011 Technology

7 Robots for Rescue Missions


Gemini-Scout Mine Rescue Robot

According to a team of U.S. researchers they are currently working on a rescue robot that will be able to deal with various obstacles to help trapped miners. It is worth mentioning that in mines people can face serious dangers such as hazardous gases, flooded channels, weakened walls and more.

Researchers from the Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque stated that their latest 4-foot long invention, called Gemini-Scout Mine Rescue Robot, will be able to pass through 18 inches of water, travel over boulders and other obstacles and search for survivors ahead of rescuers, accurately examining environments. In addition, the robot can deliver food, medicine and other important cargo to people trapped underground. More about the machine find here.

Fire Rescue Robots

Two electrical engineers, Ayanna Howard and Paul Robinette, managed to come up with small and mobile machines able to instantly provide information to emergency personnel on the exact location of people that are injured or trapped in a burning construction.

The duo at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta says these small robots can also help trapped people by guiding them to the closest exit, finding the safest route through smoke filled surroundings.

Before the operation the robots are programmed in "hunt" mode to search for victims, but as soon as they identify humans that needs assistance they instantly switch to "leader" mode to guide people to a safe location. In case the machine spots an injured person it will transmit the information on the location of that person to the rescuers. [Via NewScientist]

Door Opening Robot

Developed by a Japanese firm called BL Autotec, the remote-controlled robotic hand can easily open a wide range of doors during rescue operations. The machine can be used to save people trapped in buildings during fire, earthquake, as well as during nuclear, biological and chemical disasters.

A very interesting feature of this invention is that it can be worn by a human as a backpack. The Japanese company mounted a CCD camera on its 34-kilogram machine. In addition, the robot has LED lighting to work remotely in low light zones. Read more about it here.

Hummingbird Robot

The small robot that resembles a hummingbird was created by Hiroshi Liu, a Japanese researcher at the Chiba University east of Tokyo. Interestingly enough the robot is able to flutter around in the air just like a real hummingbird - by moving its wings very fast. With the help of a micro motor the 4 wings of the robot make 30 moves each second.

The invention of the 46-year-old researcher can move up, down, left or right using a built-in infrared sensor. Weighting 2.6 grams, the small robotic hummingbird cost $2.1 million to build. It can be used during rescue missions to look for people trapped among ruins. At the same time the machine may be useful to police that can use it to search for criminals. Find more about it here.

Active Scope Camera

Japan has been greatly affected by earthquakes and tsunamis that made thousands of victims in a short period of time. With this in mind a group of researchers from Tohoku University was able to invent a robot that resembles a snake and which can move into the debris in search of people trapped under ruins. It can move deep into the devastated buildings and use the camera to help rescuers spot victims.

Led by Satoshi Tadokoro, the team named their robot the Active Scope Camera. The machine is composed of a 26-foot long fiberscope wrapped in a special servomotor system. The Active Scope Camera features hair-like structures that use vibrations in order to move the robot forward and allow it to reach a speed of 2.7 inches per second.


Another group of Japanese scientists from the Chiba Institute of Technology's Future Robotics Technology Center is looking forward to launch a robot that will be able to study hazardous sites suffered from disasters.

Led by Eiji Koyanagi, the team came up with a robot that can roll on treads and sense chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear hazards in regions that firefighters are unable to reach. The robot features a built-in camera and can move at a speed of approximately 5.2 feet per second. [via cnet]


Developed by scientist from the Kyoto University, this mini rescue robot was used to rescue people trapped inside a partially devastated structure in Hachinohe, a small city located in North Eastern Japan. Part of the building collapsed as a result of an earthquake, and it was very difficult for rescuers to enter it themselves.

KOHGA3, which was officially presented in 2007, is a 40-kilogram robot that was used during the mission. The robot is able to climb upstairs and deal with various obstacles.

The remote-controlled robot is equipped with CCD cameras, sensors for gas, a LED light and a thermal camera. More about the machine can be found here.

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