Disaster Response Robots Could Help Rescue Teams Locate Victims
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Scientists from Mexico’s University of Guadalajara (UDG) have invented a new algorithm that enables robots to distinguish between humans and debris while carrying out search and rescue operations following a natural disaster.

Researchers have equipped a robot with cameras, a laser, motion sensors, and an infrared system to plot paths through an environment or create a 2D map.

Using a flashlight and stereoscopic HD camera, the robot is allowed to obtain images of the environment and at the same time, it can recognise if there are any people trapped in the debris. As per a report by Gizmag , the robot uses the HD cameras to scan the surrounding area, before the images are cleaned up and patterns of interest are isolated from their surrounds.

A descriptor system obtains the 3D points to segment, applying numerical values to the captured images that represent the shape, colour and density of the shapes. Then, the segments are merged to create a new image that passes through a filter, revealing whether it is a human silhouette or not.

The whole system can be integrated into the robot, or the algorithm run on a separate laptop and the robot controlled wirelessly, said the researchers. [Gizmag]