Image 1 of 6
Robot makers put their gear into action Monday for a round of performance tests hosted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Institutes of Standards and Technologies. The tests were intended to help search and rescue operations, both governmental and private, make purchase decisions.rn
rnIn this photo, Brno University of Technology professor LudekrnZalud wears goggles he designed to let the wearer see what the rescue robot sees.
Zalud said his goal is to make the use of robots as intuitive as possible, since most of the people using the devices are rescuers, not robotics specialists. The Czech researcher and others were at the Montgomery County Fire Rescue Training Academy in Rockville, Md., for the performance tests.
The PackBot Scout from
Other equipment at the event was actually built to go airborne.rnThe 2-pound AirRobot,rnfrom a German company of the same name, carries still, video and thermal imaging cameras and can use GPS to measure and track objects and places from the air. It’s being piloted here by CEO Burkhard Wiggerich.
The snakelike Soryu V is designed to slip into tiny spaces and, like many of the other robots at the DHS/NIST event, to go into places that might be too dangerous for human rescuers. The snake-bot is a pet project of Shigeo Hirose at the Tokyo Institute of Technology.
If the term “robot” conjures up images of two-legged androids, think again. Many current designs come in more geometric shapes, with tracks in place of feet. This 10-inch-tall triangle of a bot is the VGTV, from Inuktun Services of Nanaimo, British Columbia. It can be used for pipeline inspection as well as surveillance and search and rescue.