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Autonomous Helping Hands

Natural and human-caused disasters can be life shattering and collapse whole infrastructures. Human lives have been trapped and lost within the debris of hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, oil spills, and explosions. Which, understandably, is why scientists and researchers are working with rescue workers to find and save human lives with autonomous helping hands. Aerial drones, walking robots, radars, and more have been created and implemented into sensitive situations, like hurricane Katrina and earthquake in Nepal. It is reassuring that rescue workers are becoming better equipped with these extra helping hands. Here are some cool devices already saving human(and animal) lives.

FINDER( Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response)

When the earthquake in Nepal hit on April 25th, this life-saving device as used to recover four individuals trapped in debris. It came into existence through collaboration of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate. It was created to help rescue workers quickly find individuals lost in a forest, trapped in burning houses and piles of debris. It can track minute motions of individuals caused by breathing or heartbeat within 30 feet of rubble. Another beneficial use of this device is to monitor heartbeats within quarantined areas or individuals trapped in vehicles, without someone having to be physically present. If that’s not genius, I don’t know what is.

IRS Soryu

Well, maybe a robot that can detect human under rubble by body-heat is genius too. The IRS Soryu was created by the International Rescue System Institute after the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake to help seek and rescue individuals. The machine is equipped with a thermographic camera, and Charged-Couple Device( used to convert light into electric signals.) The robot is reminiscent of a mechanical worm with 3 segments, linked together with multi-directional joints. It travels using caterpillar threads, seeking out stuck individuals. Pretty cool.

Precision Hawk

What else is cool, is a hawk-like drone that can do full survellience sweep of entire disaster area. Named the Precision Hawk. Getting as much data as possible during these horrific events is paramount to evacuating and saving lives. The aerial drone allows more than one person to peer into its sight. While in the air, one can take pictures of the area and another can veiw the radiation levels of the given area. Essentially a “multi-tasking” drone to the rescue. And it also keeps people out of harms way while surveying the area. I kinda want a Precision Hawk for my personal endeavors. For you know… security. Here’s the CNN article delving into the different devices used to save lives: Robots and Drones

Final Thought

Definitely rescuing people( though still nerve-racking) from natural/human-induced disasters has become easier with the evolution of technology. Instead of rescue workers relying on human senses, they have the aid of autonomous helping hands. Though I’m sure we haven’t seen the peak of these innovations. Maybe the robots will one day spot, dig, and rescue people in one fail-swoop. Until then, researchers and scientists alike work hard to reducing casualty during these unsuspecting disasters.

What are your views on robots saving the world?

As always, from Around Your Screen.

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