Japanese rescue-bot can sniff out disaster survivors (w/ Video)

Jul 30, 2010

Japanese emergency services are to trial a small tank-like rescue robot that can search rubble for survivors and deliver water, food or cellphones in disaster zones.

The fire department of Chiba City, east of Tokyo, will test the QUINCE prototype from next month, said Eiji Koyanagi, robotic engineering expert at Chiba Institute of Technology.

"People die because they despair. If the robot delivers a cellphone, they won't feel alone. If the robot delivers water and food, they can hold out," said Koyanagi. "We want to make this the world standard."

The QUINCE, the size of a toddler's play car, has a that can be remote-controlled to turn doorknobs, manoeuvre through rubble and carry crucial survival items after an earthquake or other disaster.

Human rescuers manipulate the arm from afar using a computer link that shows them robo-view camera images.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

The machine also features infrared and carbon-dioxide sensors to find survivors by detecting their body heat and their exhaled breath, and creates three-dimensional maps of the site as it crawls.

Four sets of wheels, each driving a tank-like rubber track and powered by a total of six electric motors, enable the machine to push ahead over bumps and up and down slopes as steep as 82 degrees.

People trapped under rubble can also hear the voices of rescuers through a speaker fitted to the robot.

Koyanagi, speaking at Tokyo's Robotech fair, said it is essential for the to be tested by real rescuers to improve and "fine-tune" its design.

This picture, taken on July 18 and released by Japanese college Chiba Institute of Technology shows the crawler rescue robot "QUINCE" during a demonstration at the college campus of Narashino city in Chiba prefecture, suburban Tokyo. Japanese emergency services are to trial a small tank-like rescue robot that can search rubble for survivors and deliver water, food or cellphones in disaster zones.

Engineers may develop the wrong ideas, he said: in the past, "we made touch panels... only to find wear gloves and can't use them."

Japan is prone to earthquakes, with about 20 percent of the world's most powerful tremors striking the island nation.

Explore further: Future US Navy: Robotic sub-hunters, deepsea pods

Related Stories

Robo-chefs and fashion-bots on show in Tokyo

Nov 26, 2009

Forget the Transformers and Astroboy: Japan's latest robots don't save the world -- they cook snacks, play with your kids, model clothes, and search for disaster victims.

New robot skier takes to the slopes (w/ Video)

Oct 23, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new robot skier has been invented that can be fitted with off-the-shelf skis. This is not the first skiing robot, since Japanese scientists have produced their own (see PhysOrg.com article here), but is bigger and heavie ...

Recommended for you

A robot prepared for self-awareness

8 hours ago

A year ago, researchers at Bielefeld University showed that their software endowed the walking robot Hector with a simple form of consciousness. Their new research goes one step forward: they have now developed ...

Future US Navy: Robotic sub-hunters, deepsea pods

Mar 28, 2015

The robotic revolution that transformed warfare in the skies will soon extend to the deep sea, with underwater spy "satellites," drone-launching pods on the ocean floor and unmanned ships hunting submarines.

Festo has BionicANTs communicating by the rules for tasks

Mar 27, 2015

Germany-based automation company Festo, focused on technologies for tasks, turns to nature for inspiration, trying to take the cues from how nature performs tasks so efficiently. "Whether it's energy efficiency, ...

Virtual robotization for human limbs

Mar 26, 2015

Recent advances in computer gaming technology allow for an increasingly immersive gaming experience. Gesture input devices, for example, synchronise a player's actions with the character on the screen. Entertainment ...

Robots on reins could be the 'eyes' of firefighters

Mar 25, 2015

Researchers at King's College London have developed revolutionary reins that enable robots to act like guide dogs, which could enable that firefighters moving through smoke-filled buildings could save vital ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.