Robot dog helps scientists understand dangerous environments | News from the UK
A four-legged robotic “dog” helps experts understand how to support people who work in hazardous environments such as oil rigs and refineries.
The £ 60,000 robot is being used by scientists at Heriot-Watt University in. equipped with “Telexistance” technology Edinburgh.
This can enable people to experience an environment without being there – using devices like microphones and cameras to broadcast sound and video.
Considered the first of its kind in Scotland, the robot is part of the Boston Dynamics “Spot” series and has also made headlines by dancing on YouTube.
Scientists plan to use the hardware to research how robots can help people in hazardous environments such as offshore energy inspection and disaster recovery.
Professor Yvan Petillot, Professor of Robotics and Autonomous Systems at Heriot-Watt University and co-academic with the National Robotarium, said, “If we equip this robot with our telexistence technology, we can do a series of experiments.
“We can test how the robot can help and support people who work in hazardous environments, including oil and gas rigs and oil refineries.
“During search and rescue missions or after accidents, spot robots equipped with our sensors could monitor the vital signs of an injured person and send images and sounds back to a hospital so that doctors can give advice on treatment or decide when it is safe to to transport a patient. “
He added, “Robots of this type can climb debris, go up and down stairs, and deal with hazards such as dust and rain.
“These features will prove very useful as we develop more ways to ensure that robots can keep people safe and save companies money.”
Dr. Sen Wang, associate professor at Heriot-Watt University and head of robotics and autonomous systems at the National Robotarium, said experts will first study how the new robot can help the construction industry.
“We’re going to adapt lidar to our robot, which is similar to radar but uses light instead of radio waves,” said Dr. Wang.
“This enables the robot to get an idea of its surroundings while recognizing obstacles such as rubble on construction sites.”
He said the robot has the potential to “speed up the construction process, reduce rework costs, detect hazards, increase efficiency and improve quality control.”
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