Computing Community Consortium Blog

The goal of the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is to catalyze the computing research community to debate longer range, more audacious research challenges; to build consensus around research visions; to evolve the most promising visions toward clearly defined initiatives; and to work with the funding organizations to move challenges and visions toward funding initiatives. The purpose of this blog is to provide a more immediate, online mechanism for dissemination of visioning concepts and community discussion/debate about them.

Qinghai Quake and Robots

April 15th, 2010 / in Uncategorized / by Ran Libeskind-Hadas

What is it with disasters? They’re coming fast and furious. Here’s the 411 on robots at the China quake.

The Qinghai quake is the latest of the series of tragedies. Prof. Bin Li at the Shenyang Institute of Automation and an active member of the IEEE Technical Committee on Safety Security Rescue Robots, contacted the Chinese national earthquake response service this morning. It doesn’t look like ground robots are appropriate– the structures are mostly small and constructed from brick and mud. That type of construction is problematic– the brick and mud turns to a liquidized dust, acting like water to fill all the voids and displaces air. Even if there are voids, the suspended dust causes respiratory distress. Eric Rasmussen InSTEDD has many tales to tell of the similar Turkey earthquake.

China, by the way, does have at least one rescue robot. Bin tells me it was deployed to the mine collapse but could not be used because it wasn’t waterproof. (A gentle aside to manufacturers: d’uh!)

Aerial vehicles might be helpful for tactical operations and I can’t help thinking that an unmanned marine vehicle with an acoustic camera capable of penetrating turbid waters could provide more information about that crack in the big dam…

Bin was a participant in the NSF-JST-NIST workshop at Disaster City at the first of the month and we look forward to working with him and his group.

[This was written by Professor Robin Murphy at Texas A&M University and originally appeared on her  CRASAR research group  blog.]

Qinghai Quake and Robots

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