Spherical Robots to the Rescue: Scouting robots designed for space warn first responders of gas leaks, other dangers.
Excerpt from NASA Spinoff publication, written by Rebecca Carroll.
Dr. Alice Agogino was researching spherical, skeletal robots that might one day be dropped onto Mars or the Moon to collect information and conduct science experiments, when she realized her NASA-funded technology could have terrestrial benefits as well.
Reading a report on the dangers and high death toll of disaster response, Agogino recognized that her robots, fitted with the right sensors, could gather data at the scenes of fires, crashes, explosions, and other disasters to help first responders assess situational dangers like toxic gas leaks and plan their approach.
“We thought, wow, if we can do this on the Moon, we should be able to do it on planet Earth and save some lives,” said Agogino, who was then director of the Berkeley Emergent Space Tensegrities Lab at the University of California at Berkeley.
She went on to cofound Berkeley, California-based Squishy Robotics Inc. The company makes impact-resistant, customizable robots for public safety, military, and industrial uses.
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