Survivor search robots to comfort disaster survivors

The St Petersburg Times has an article on the new generation of rescue robots that search for survivors after disasters. Their creator, engineer Robin Murphy, is designing robots that will aim to provide psychological comfort to trapped victims until the rescuers can reach them.

Murphy has been designing and deploying rescue robots for many years, assisting the rescue teams after the World Trade Centre attacks, Hurricane Katrina and the Utah mine disaster to name but a few.

Recognising the need to alleviate the psychological suffering of trapped survivors, she’s just won a $500,000 grant from Microsoft to develop robots that attempt to comfort the people they reach.

The Survivor Buddy would act as an emergency companion to people stuck in the crossfire of snipers or under the rubble of an earthquake-ravaged building like the ones now littering China.

She envisions a robot that plays soothing music to trapped victims and features a monitor showing the faces of loved ones and rescuers trying to reach them. It will deliver water and transmit a victim’s vital signs to doctors. And it should be friendly, she said.

Link to The St Petersburg Times on Survivor Buddy (via AI&Robots).

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