Tag Archives: emergency services

Snake Movement Inspires Search-and-Rescue Robot Design

All-terrain search-and-rescue robots must be able to move over a wide variety of surfaces, explore tight spaces, and ascend slopes of varying degrees. Some robots can already do these types of things, but most of them need to consume hefty amounts of energy to so do. Now, researchers at Georgia Tech have designed a more flexible, energy-efficient search-and-rescue robot by observing the way snakes move.

Scalybot 2, a robot that mimics the sinuous locomotion of snakes, was developed by Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. candidate Hamid Marvi at Georgia Tech. “By using their scales to control frictional properties, snakes are able to move large distances while exerting very little energy,” Marvi explains.

Snakes are highly maligned creatures. I really like that Hamid’s research is showing the public that snakes can help people.”

— Joe Mendelson, curator of herpetology, Zoo Atlanta

Learn more at http://www.gatech.edu/newsroom/release.html?nid=79331

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIHlRLKMG9M

© Tony Leininger and IT for Good 2012. See sidebar for full copyright notice.

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Modular Firefighter Simulation System Allows Emergency Workers to Test and Tailor More Reliable Tech Tools

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology FIT in Sankt Agustin have developed simulation methods and tools that can help emergency service workers test developing technologies in realistic environments, which will allow the technologies to be tailored to the worker’s specific requirements.

The “FireSim method kit” includes four simulation modules. Module one is a role-playing board game that permits workers to test their ideas with the least effort. Module two is a computer game, and the third blends virtual and real elements. A fourth module is designed to help emergency workers to assess new ideas and technologies in a controlled context that includes a major fire event, many emergency workers, and even bystanders.

We take the behavior of individuals as our starting point. How does a firefighter behave, and how about members of the public? We convert these into behavioral models – or agents – and then a computer calculates how a major emergency operation will play out, taking these behavioral models into account. These simulations allow us to make rapid changes to prototypes and put them to the test in complex deployment scenarios. Since we want to take the whole hierarchy into account, we recreate all communication and coordination processes in the simulation as far as we can.”

— Markus Valle-Klann, project manager, Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology FIT

The researchers plan to present the FireSim methods kit at the CeBIT trade fair in Hannover.

Learn more at http://www.fraunhofer.de/en/press/research-news/2012/january/simulating-firefighting-op.html

© Tony Leininger and IT for Good 2012. See sidebar for full copyright notice.