Mechanical Mole in Search for Disaster Survivors
A digging robot inspired by the mole is being built by UK researchers, who hope it could one day 'swim' through rubble at disaster sites to help find survivors. Roboticists are already experimenting with robots that roll, walk or even slither to locate or help survivors. Researchers at University of Manchester, UK have already built a new digging mechanism that could shove aside relatively light objects, such as bricks or furniture. The digging robot was inspired by the European mole, which uses its spade-like front paws in a digging motion similar to a swimmer's breast-stroke. The first part of the 'stroke' drags earth in front of the animal to the side and pushes it to the rear. The return stroke brings the forelegs to the front again, keeping them close to the mole's body to avoid pushing already-moved earth forward again. To duplicate this motion, the researchers used a tried-and-tested design called a four-bar mechanism, which is similar to the arrangement that drives car windscreen wipers. According to the researchers, an actual search-and-rescue robot based on the design might be ready in two years. For further details, contact: Dr Robert Richardson The University of Manchester, School of Computer Science, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL, UK. E-mail: [email protected] [email protected]
Sector: Disaster Management and Mitigation
Country: India
Area of Application: Disaster sites
Keywords: Mechanical mole
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