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Firefighting humanoid robot gets drafted into the Navy

Fires, robots, and massive ocean vessels come together at last. The humanoid Saffir robot will soon be handling dangerous firefighting duties on U.S. Navy ships.

Saffir robot
Enlarge this puppy to check out Saffir's coolest features. (Click to enlarge.)
U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

Queue up The Village People doing "In the Navy." Then follow it up with "Mr. Roboto" by Styx. Next, throw in Hendrix doing "Fire." Put it all together, and you'll have the perfect soundtrack for the Navy's new humanoid firefighting robot, named Saffir.

Charli-L1 robot from Virgina Tech
The Charli-L1 from Virginia Tech is Saffir's predecessor. (Click to enlarge.) Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Saffir stands for "shipboard autonomous firefighting robot." I could just stop here and let that description be enough awesomeness for one day, but there's more.

This humanoid robot comes from the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. It is designed to fit through the cramped passageways of Navy ships, interact with the sailors onboard, and fight fires with cool features like the ability to throw PEAT grenades. No, not that kind of peat. We're talking "propelled extinguishing agent technology."

Saffir sounds like it was designed by superhero fans. Besides the PEAT grenade launching, it also has a stereo infrared camera to see through smoke. The battery-powered bot will have enough juice to fight fires for 30 minutes at a time.

The firefighting robot is still in the design phase. It's based on the existing Charli-L1 robot developed by Virginia Tech. Shipboard testing of the Saffir robot should start in the fall of 2013.

(Via Mashable)