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

July 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.

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: Rescue Robot Exercise Brings Together Robots, Developers, First Responders

Related Stories

Robo-chefs and fashion-bots on show in Tokyo

November 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)

October 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 ...

Recommended for you

Cryptocurrency rivals snap at Bitcoin's heels

January 14, 2018

Bitcoin may be the most famous cryptocurrency but, despite a dizzying rise, it's not the most lucrative one and far from alone in a universe that counts 1,400 rivals, and counting.

Top takeaways from Consumers Electronics Show

January 13, 2018

The 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, which concluded Friday in Las Vegas, drew some 4,000 exhibitors from dozens of countries and more than 170,000 attendees, showcased some of the latest from the technology world.

Finnish firm detects new Intel security flaw

January 12, 2018

A new security flaw has been found in Intel hardware which could enable hackers to access corporate laptops remotely, Finnish cybersecurity specialist F-Secure said on Friday.


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.