If knowing is half the battle, then firefighters waging war on a blaze start at a serious disadvantage. A lack of information concerning what’s going on inside a fire means firefighting personnel often must speculate which way the fire is moving, where the hottest spots are, and most importantly, where people might be trapped by the flames. The Fire Spy Robot hopes to tip the scales back in firefighters’ favor by providing valuable intel from inside infernos even while helping to extinguish them.
Los Angelenos have recently watched billowing clouds from a nearby wildfire hover overhead, in scenes reminiscent of "Volcano." NASA's Terra satellite took the opportunity to snap a photo of the smoke monster on the night of August 30. Red outlines in the photo indicate wildfire hotspots.
Robots are just like us: some become cooks, others go into sports, some intern for a while, and then there are the ones who find their calling in civic duty. Included in this last group are members of the recently unveiled London robotic firefighting team.
As firemen prepare for wildfire season this summer, they will reach for their trusty Pulaski ax, the century-old tool used to hack ditches between flames and the rest of the forest. But they will have some new, high-tech help as well. Mini tree-mounted weather stations and airborne infrared sensors will provide the clearest picture yet of where fires are and where they're headed.
While watching news footage of a wildfire raging, maybe you've been struck by frustration at the lack of a high-tech, super-sized firefighting solution. Why, in 2009, don't firefighters have access to a super water-cannon? Where is the quick-hardening smothering shell? How much longer will we wait for a mountain-climbing hydro-Roomba?
The answer may be closer than you think. I was treated to a demonstration of the largest firefighting vehicle in the world, the Evergreen Supertanker.
Check out the photos.
This autonomous firefighting 'bot gets its self-preservation instinct from its (very distant) insect cousins
By Michael DumiakPosted 03.31.2008 at 3:15 pm 6 Comments
Shifting through the mossy undergrowth of Germany's Black Forest, antennae raised and leg joints quietly clicking forward, OLE (pronounced "oh-luh") is a St. Bernard–size bug on the prowl. But this mechanized insect isn't a scavenger—it's a guardian.