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Robots for fireground hot spots
After winning the Australian National Robotics Competition in Sydney in December 2013, a team of students from Glendal Primary and Berwick Lodge schools students in District 13 are competing in Pamplona, Spain, this month.
By Christine Gilligan
This competition hosts more than 3,000 attendees from all over the world, with 90 teams from more than 70 countries are expected to compete with their robots and their innovative solutions.
This is an amazing achievement for the students, whose project is called Bushfires in Rural Victoria.
The students worked over the Christmas holidays and many hours after school and weekends to perfect their programming and robot capability to compete at such a high level.
In the last week of school term, the team presented its project topic to a selection of staff, CFA personnel and parents. The team looked at the recovery stage of a bushfire. Firefighters spend many weeks after the bushfire identifying trees that are still burning. There are no outward signs, such as fire or smoke, but these are potential fire hazards called hot spots. This process takes time and can be dangerous for firefighters.
The team decided to address this problem by designing ‘swarm robots’ that were autonomous, had an ultrasonic sensor to detect the trees, a thermal imager to detect hot spots, used Wi-Fi to alert base of these hot spots, and was designed to travel over different terrains.
The Glendal students designed a swarm prototype robot, which was programmed to simulate a real-life situation. It’s a design that they hope will be taken further and used practically in the field of bushfire fighting.
CFA has been supportive of this project from the start and it’s exciting to see what the next generation is coming up with.
Photo by Keith Pakenham
Emma Pears from CFA HQ and Evan Thomas from District 13 with children from Glendal Primary School