HOME  |  NEWS  |  BLOGS  |  MESSAGES  |  FEATURES  |  VIDEOS  |  WEBINARS  |  INDUSTRIES  |  FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
  |  REGISTER  |  LOGIN  |  HELP
Blogs
Blog
Slideshow: Rescue Robots Save the Day
7/23/2012

Image 1 of 10      Next >

A different way of making rescue robots friendlier is designing them to look more like people, and making them big and strong enough to lift and carry unconscious disaster victims for long distances without hurting them. One example is the Battlefield Extraction Assist Robot (BEAR) prototype, built by Vecna Robotics and funded by the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command's Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center. The BEAR, an all-terrain, search-and-rescue, humanoid robot, can lift and carry up to 500 pounds. It's designed to locate, lift, and rescue people, and it can grasp fragile objects without damaging them. The powerful torso and arms are controlled by hydraulics, and its mobility platform has two independent sets of tracked legs. The robot balances itself on the balls of its ankles, and it can remain upright while balancing on its knees or hips. Aside from search and rescue, it can be used for handling hazardous materials, surveillance and reconnaissance, mine inspection, heavy lifting, and warehouse automation. (Source: US Army)
A different way of making rescue robots friendlier is designing them to look more like people, and making them big and strong enough to lift and carry unconscious disaster victims for long distances without hurting them. One example is the Battlefield Extraction Assist Robot (BEAR) prototype, built by Vecna Robotics and funded by the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command's Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center. The BEAR, an all-terrain, search-and-rescue, humanoid robot, can lift and carry up to 500 pounds. It's designed to locate, lift, and rescue people, and it can grasp fragile objects without damaging them. The powerful torso and arms are controlled by hydraulics, and its mobility platform has two independent sets of tracked legs. The robot balances itself on the balls of its ankles, and it can remain upright while balancing on its knees or hips. Aside from search and rescue, it can be used for handling hazardous materials, surveillance and reconnaissance, mine inspection, heavy lifting, and warehouse automation.
(Source: US Army)

Image 1 of 10      Next >

Return to Article

View Comments: Newest First|Oldest First|Threaded View
Page 1/3  >  >>
gsmith120
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Hollywood inspirations
gsmith120   9/27/2012 4:14:33 PM
NO RATINGS
BEAR reminds me of Robo-Cop.  It is a great idea to use the robots to interact with victims.  If the robots had audio capabilities this would/could allow two communications with victims.  In the case of a rescuing a child it would be comforting for a child to hear someone's voice, like their parent to keep them claim.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: rescue robots
Ann R. Thryft   8/3/2012 12:40:11 PM
NO RATINGS
Thanks, William, I must have missed that one. I agree, speech and sound technology is at a point where it can enhance robot communication, especially at post-disaster stressful times for humans.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Re: rescue robots
William K.   8/2/2012 4:40:33 PM
NO RATINGS
Ann, it was in the post by ervin0072002 , who suggested some "sedative gas" or somesuch. The nearby comments mentioned the potential for legal grief if the robot did not deliver up to somebody's expectations. 

Where the problem begins is in the minds of those who have no technical understanding at all, and presume that engineers can do anything if they choose to do it, and spend enough money on it. That, along with the inability of so very many to focus their attention long enough to learn and understand things, seems to be the basis of those who are unwilling, or unknowing-enough, so that they believe that all of their existance is "somebody else's" responsibility.

On the other side, rescue robots do need to be made to look and sound friendly and reassuring. That is why the comment about needing a very good quality speech and sound system on the robots. Fortunately that technology is quite mature.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: rescue robots
Ann R. Thryft   8/2/2012 1:30:49 PM
NO RATINGS
William, I'm not sure where the idea of tranquilizing victims comes from. If you mean the Survivor Buddy, the point there was lessons learned after 9/11 about how weird, alien and upsetting a robot can appear to a human in distress. So the GUI and the machine's body language were designed to help calm the victim, as well as provide web communication with family and rescuers. Or did you mean something else?

warren@fourward.com
User Rank
Platinum
man vs. robot
warren@fourward.com   8/2/2012 1:21:05 PM
NO RATINGS
One of the many advantages of humans (organics) is our mass to strength ratio.  We efficiently convert food to energy and productivity.  We have a built-in computer that has millions of parallel processors and almost unlimited memory, plus billions of input devices of various types (sound, touch, smell, optical, temperature, psychic (??), etc.  No machine has all these capabilities in such a neat little package (well, "little" is in the eyes of the beholder).  As we develop our little robot companions, the mass (weight, here on earth) adds up quickly and soon becomes unwieldy.  Too bad, but it is a fact of life.  We haven't been able to improve on God, and probably won't come close, but we can develop specific-use robots to help us in our travail through life.  Rescue robots are top on my list!  Too bad we have to replace so many workers with assembly line robots, but that is an economic fact of life.  It will be interesting to see how our best and brightest come up with new solutions over the next few years in robotics.  I will certainly be following the engineering side of this work.  I hope it acts as a spring board to other areas like NASA did.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Robots can save my day!
Ann R. Thryft   8/2/2012 12:03:42 PM
NO RATINGS
Warren, I'd guess that since most of the rescue robots are being designed for deployment by the military and first responders like police departments, they aren't likely to be deployed by civilians in a disaster. OTOH, if you buy one for help in the kitchen, you're probably on your own.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
rescue robots
William K.   8/1/2012 10:04:40 PM
I am sure that I have seen the "BEAR" robot quite a while back, probably in Design News, and it would seem that whatever needed to be verified would be verified by now. As for a battlfield rescue robot, An American flag on the robot's chest would be enough for many, although certainly a robot could deliver a voice message as well. The very best choice would be to provide a bit of training for those likely to be rescued.

Of course, in a disaster or fire rescue a robot could certainly have a friendly human sounding voice, since it would not need much in the line of life support hardware for itself. 

The concept of tranquilizing a panicy victim is about the most poorly advised idea that I have ever heard, since the legal ramifications would be horrible. We all know that.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Robots can save my day!
Rob Spiegel   8/1/2012 5:42:39 PM
I think we're going to see applications for robots increase. Drones are a form of robot. Robots were used to defuse the apartment of accused Aurora shooter James Holmes.

warren@fourward.com
User Rank
Platinum
Robots can save my day!
warren@fourward.com   8/1/2012 3:43:27 PM
I like the idea of robots coming to the rescue, unlike the abominable movie "I Robot", but I fear for the poor soul who sells one and gets sued as soon as it doesn't live up to human expectations.  The technology is there and being used piecemeal now, but when the lawyers get hold of it, it would be better to just let the poor fool die.

Having made my disclaimer, it is time we used some of our robot playthings in universities to help mankind in more ways.  We already use them, I hear, to clear roadside bombs, old land mines, nuclear (nuclur, dear George) waste,etc., but if they could come to the rescue in house or building fires, chemical spills, and so on, a lot of lives could be saved.  Maybe even mine when I mess up in the kitchen...

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Making advances
Ann R. Thryft   7/30/2012 12:59:44 PM
Funny you should say that, Jack. The first time I saw the Army's BEAR robot, I thought it looked like a teddy bear, not a real bear. Come to think of it, maybe that's on purpose, to make it look friendlier.

Page 1/3  >  >>
Partner Zone
More Blogs
New developments in sensors span a wide range of applications in all areas of manufacturing and plant automation.
Some of our culture's most enduring robots appeared in the 80s. The Aliens series produced another evil android, and we saw light robot fare in the form of Short Circuit. Two of the great robots of all time also showed up: The Terminator and RoboCop.
A soundproofing invention called Acoustiblok recently won a television challenge to silence an air horn with only a fraction of an inch of polymer material.
Robots came into their own in the 1970s. Gone were the low-budget black-and-white B movies. Now robots roamed in full-color feature films with A-list actors.
Major global metropolitan areas are implementing a vast number of technology, energy, transportation, and Internet projects to make the metropolis a friendlier, greener, safer, and more sustainable place to be.
Design News Webinar Series
7/23/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
7/17/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
6/25/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
5/13/2014 10:00 a.m. California / 1:00 p.m. New York / 6:00 p.m. London
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
Aug 4 - 8, Introduction to Linux Device Drivers
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6


Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Next Class: August 12 - 14
Sponsored by igus
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Copyright © 2014 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service