Could robots be the lifesavers of the future?
Recent years have seen huge advances made in the understanding of robot-human interactions. And this groundbreaking work is now being applied to emergency life-or-death scenarios, where every second counts.
They’re more often seen attached to unruly toddlers, but scientists have now developed high-tech reins that could enable robots to act as the eyes of fire-fighters.
Equipped with these revolutionary reins, robots could operate like guide dogs, allowing fire-fighters to navigate through smoke-filled buildings with ease, saving vital seconds. Pretty incredible, right?
Leading the Way
You’re no doubt wondering how these innovative reigns work. Remarkably, the truth is surprisingly less complicated than your might think.
Their secret lies in the use of specially designed tactile sensors that transmit information about the surrounding terrain – in the form of vibrations – between the robot and a person’s arm.
The idea is that a small mobile robot – equipped with these sensors – would lead the way, with the fire-fighter following at a close distance.
The fire-fighter would have to wear a special sleeve, incorporating electronic micro-vibrators that would convert the signals sent by the robot into information the user can interpret.
These sensors would also provide the robot with information, enabling it to sense any hesitation or resistance from the fire-fighter, so it can make adjustments accordingly.
There’s no denying the potential of this remarkable technology. Even with access to the map of a building, fire-fighters often find themselves groping their way forwards, battling through plumes of smoke.
But with only 20 minutes of oxygen available per fire-fighter, time is of the essence. And there's a real need for an innovation to help them move with greater speed and ease.
This potentially lifesaving technology is the brain-child of researchers from King's College London and Sheffield Hallam university, who had a little help from the likes of the charity Guide Dogs, and the South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.
The robot has already been subject to extensive testing in areas as diverse as a gym, and a smoke-filled cave in Germany. And the team are now planning to a build a full, working prototype that would be tested in a real-world fire-fighting scenario.
So, in answer to our earlier question, whilst it may still be a few years off yet, these revolutionary robots may one day be coming to your rescue.
This remarkable feat of design and engineering showcases the amazing potential of technology to change our lives for the better. Here at European Springs, we believe that our innovative springs are helping to shape the world for the better too. And even our humble disc springs can be heroes.
If you're planning a revolutionary engineering feat of your own and think you require our services? Then simply contact us today, by giving us a call on 0208 663 1800.