Friday, September 14, 2012

The Newest In Search & Rescue

As any person in the emergency services field knows, time is always of the essence...especially in areas such as search and rescue.  Unfortunately, sometimes conditions are unsafe for rescuers to search for injured persons and sometimes it is physically impossible for rescuers (or search animals) to comb through wreckage to find the injured.  And when they are in need of emergency medical help, they don't have hours or days for someone to find them.

Because of this, a team of engineers at North Carolina State University have come up with a solution...and a very unlikely hero!  They have determined that cockroaches (yes, cockroaches) could have the ability to assist in the saving of many lives in rescue missions.

By outfitting the cockroach with a computer chip (much like a backpack) engineers are able to control the movement of the insect through electrical pulses via a computer.  Combine that with the ability to add a small camera and rescuers are able to quickly look through wreckage and rubble for survivors.  A small microphone can also be added to the chip, which would allow rescuers to communicate with survivors when they were found.

Doug Nakama of the San Diego Fire Department said, "Time is critical. The golden hour for victims is critical for the survivability rate.  The roaches could prove important if they can reach areas search dogs and cameras cannot."

To answer the question, "why cockroaches?"...the engineers determined that it was significantly more cost efficient to utilize the insects than it would be to attempt to build a robot that had the size and maneuverability of a cockroach.

Check out the following video to see these cockroaches in action...

Cyborg Cockroaches: The Future of Search and... by NewsyVideos

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