Quake rescue robot rocks Kinect to find victims

With a look that seems inspired by "Short Circuit" star Number 5, RoboCup hopeful uses cost-effective Kinect sensor instead of Lidar to help find quake victims.

University of Warwick

It seems you can do almost anything with robots and Kinect --perhaps even save lives. Students at the U.K.'s University of Warwick are using the motion controller on a robot that's designed to help find victims in quake-hit buildings.

With a look that seems inspired by "Short Circuit" star Number 5, Warwick's Teleoperated Search & Rescue Robot (PDF) can crawl over obstacles and fit into cramped spaces.

It has six tracks and a sensor-laden "head" on an articulated arm, and is powered by two Roboteq AX3500 motors.

It can use its new Kinect sensor to map terrain in 3D, perhaps identifying areas in a collapsed building where victims could be trapped.

The Kinect is an improvement to past versions of the robot that saves significant sums compared with Lidar laser sensors, which use light to image objects and create maps.

The team also wants to equip the crawler with a manipulator that could help bring food and medicine to trapped victims.

The robot won the European rescue championship at RoboCup last year in Germany, and aims to win this year's world competition in Turkey.

Last year's RoboCup Rescue in Singapore was dominated by Thai teams. The Warwick group is currently looking for sponsorship to help win the next world tournament.

So if you no longer want your Kinect, consider donating it to a robot.


(Via BBC)

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