“Our rapidly deployable mobile sensor robots are designed to save lives, reduce costs and risks and increase effectiveness of emergency response,” UC Berkeley mechanical engineering professor Alice Agogino said according to Berkeley News.
“They can survive a high drop into a disaster zone and provide life-saving information to first responders. They can also work as co-robots with their human partners on the ground when they arrive on the scene.”
So, how do they work? The Squishy robots are spheres built using a number of rods and contracting cables that allow the actual sensors and chips inside to remain intact after the robot hits the ground. The construction is solid enough to survive an impact after being dropped from up to 600 feet (183 meters), its creators say.
And the team is serious about making these robots a reality, as partnerships with the Los Angeles County and the Houston fire departments are being inked right now to allow testing of the technology.
Later on, Squishy robots could be used by other agencies and for other purposes, especially ones dealing with hazardous materials. Users will be able to deploy the technology in swarms, equipped with a wide range of sensors including chemical and biological.
For now, there’s no timetable for the release of the machines in the wild.