Send In The Robots In Final Rescue Effort
Lowering a miniature remote controlled robotic camera into a bore hole in a collapsed Utah mine to find trapped miners is just one example of how RC is being used today to go where man can't go.
Packing 2 cameras, lights, electric motors and conveyance tracks into an 8-inch in diameter cylindrical 70-pound, waterproof robotic device takes a lot more know-how than most modelers have.
The goal is for the robot to be lowered about 2,000 feet through one of the 8-7/8-inch sized holes onto the floor of the mine. Once there, it may be able to travel up to 1,000 feet, its two cameras feeding rescuers above a clearer view than they have been able to get so far.
This is a job for the relatively new Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue at the University of South Florida under the direction of Dr. Robin Murphy.
She was on scene when the robot was deployed Aug 27th to try and locate any trace of the miners who have been confined at least 1,500 feet below ground at the Crandall Canyon mine.
She said there was only a 50% chance the robot would be successful in making its way along the 1,500-foot 8.5-inch bore hole where any obstruction would block the path.
This particular robot, if it can squeeze through the bore hole springs into action when it reaches a space with more headroom, presumed to be the spot where the miners took refuge from the Aug. 6 mine collapse.
The robot’s camera cylinder will rise from the towed sled, deploy lights and relay pictures back to the surface.
Dr. Murphy’s Center for Robot Assisted Search & Rescue (CRASAR) is a Type II Center at the University of South Florida, serves as a crisis response and research organization.
The center strives to direct and exploit new technology development in robotics and unmanned systems for humanitarian purposes worldwide.
The robot used in Utah was built in less than a week and tested at the scene just before being deployed.
CRASAR's Guide To Robots and Mine Disasters
CRASAR serves existing rescue organizations by providing deployable robot-assisted search and rescue teams on order, certifying and training SAR personnel on operationally relevant robot systems, evaluating emerging robot technologies, and fostering research into SAR-specific robot systems.
In 2004, Murphy was named a Time Magazine “Innovator” following her use of a similar robot.
Time Magazine wrote that “Within 24 hours of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, Robin Murphy was on the scene with a team of robots to help sort through the debris. It was the first real-world test of the Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue in Tampa, Fla., the only unit of its kind on the planet.”