It used to be robots were only for the assembly line, but robots are being called upon these days to assist in situations of the utmost danger, not to mention their ongoing industrial uses for demolition.
From trying to seal offshore oil pipe leaks with underwater robot subs to disarming bombs in domestic threats and war zones, robots are being used to safely handle risky circumstances.
The Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue (CRASAR) at Texas A&M University looks into the many uses of robots, including at mine disasters. CRASAR serves as crisis response and research organization which strives to direct and exploit new technology development in robotics and unmanned systems for humanitarian purposes worldwide, according to its website.
It was originally established under the auspices of NIUSR (National Institute for Urban Search and Rescue), and participated in the WTC response, deploying robots on Towers 1 and 2, Building 4, and other areas from the early morning of 9/12/2001 through 10/2/2001.
CRASAR continues helping out and giving input into disaster recovery around the world. CRASAR director Dr. Robin Murphy said in a Jan. 21, 2010, post: The point is not whether CRASAR participates in a disasterbut rather whether we are getting closer to the day when the responders routinely take the robots and other technologies that they own and operate to the incident thats our mission.
For years, robots have been used to demolish structures, even though the wrecking ball and implosion are other trademarks of the demolition industry. Robots take out the risk involved to the operator of construction equipment. Established in Sweden in 1976, Brokk is the worlds leading marketer of robotic demolition machines. Their remote controlled machines are used in cutting, breaking, crushing and other demolition tasks.
In heavy construction and demolition, there is always a certain amount of risk involved when it comes to worker safety, explains Lars Lindgren, president at Brokk Inc. USA.
Although there are many forms of protection available hard hats, goggles, breathing masks, etc. some situations are beyond the help of personal protection. Removing the operator from the equation significantly lowers the risk of injury from operating
tools and equipment in potentially dangerous construction zones. Integrating electric remote controlled equipment into a construction fleet can help minimize dangerous situations while adding value and peace of mind, Lindgren added.