New Robot Could Help with Natural and Man-Made Disasters

<p>Disaster Assistance Robot</p>

Disaster Assistance Robot

Ever thought it might be useful if we had robots to help out in natural and man-made disasters?

Well one Pacific Northwest National Laboratory scientist is showing off his robot who is on track to doing just.

"Buddy" was one of 17 robots to compete in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Robotics Challenge.

He was built to be able to close valves, carry a hose, climb up stairs and ladders and drive a golf cart.

Buddy did not score any points in the competition because he was overheating and the team didn't want him to completely break down, but in practices he was able to complete a few of the tasks.

Buddy is computer operated, there are gloves someone can wear to move his hands and he has a camera on him.

There is also a laser censor that can show the scientists how far Buddy is from something, for instance if they can see a valve through Buddy's camera, they can also see how far away that valve is in order for him to get to it.

Buddy is nearly 5 ft. tall, when standing all the way up and weighs nearly 40 lbs, a size that scientists find useful.

"It's a small size so that he can fit into small spaces but big enough to handle to the tasks. Like the Fukushima plant, where you didn't want to have to send people in to stabilize the facility. That's DARPA's focus, to find something to assist in disasters," said Carl Castleton, PNNL Scientist and the leader of the team who created Buddy.

The team will be going back to compete in DARPA's next challenge at the end of this year and they hope they can get buddy to complete every task without breaking the bank.