It is always great to read about new gadgets which are incredibly cool but ultimately fairly pointless. Who hasn’t longed after a dress which displays twitter messages on it or a robot in the form of a giant dog?
However, we occasionally come across genuinely useful gadgets and devices which prove that cutting edge technology can actually, gulp, help the human race after all. One such invention is the Segway style robot which has been designed to help fire fighters stay safe.
The robot (which sadly doesn’t appear to have a name yet) was put together by the boffins at the University of California in San Diego. It works by using thermal imaging technology to help the fire fighters work out what is inside the buildings they need to enter.
An Array of Equipment
It comes with a couple of RGB cameras and some sensors to check out the temperature and whether there are dangerous gasses or structural problems which the fire crew needs to know about before entering. The robot has also been designed to climb stairs, although there is no word on whether it is able to slide down the traditional fireman’s pole when an emergency call is received.
The idea is that these robots will head off into the burning buildings before the real firemen do, and check out what the situation is. They will then provide a thermal 3D map which the fire fighters can look over before entering.
The first public appearance for the fire fighting robotic buddies will be in the upcoming International Conference on Robotics and Automation, which will be talking place in Hong Kong.