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The advance in robotics has already spread to first responders such as firefighters. However, the use of robots in the management of wildfires burning building faces many challenges, one of the major ones being the ability to maneuver in a burning structure. A technological development aims to provide a solution for this challenge.
Firefighting robots equipped with a new automatic T-valve system can remove water from the fire hose whenever the robot moves to a new location. The technology takes significantly less energy for firefighters to pull an empty fire hose compared with a water-filled fire hose, which enables the firefighting robot to maneuver more quickly and efficiently in and around a burning structure.
“This discharge valve invention could be the next transformation of the fire service that saves lives”, according to purdue.edu.
“This invention further enables the firefighting robot by adding to the robot mobility and saving lives within the fire service and, most importantly, with the public. With this improvement, the firefighting robots are better able to save lives and protect property.”
The Purdue invention improves the efficiency of a firefighting robot by reducing the weight and power consumption while improving the mobility of a robot to close the potential gap between the machine and a human fighter.
With the addition of the Purdue T-valve design, the robot can be lighter, more mobile and have battery capacity for a longer mission, since its maneuver does not require pulling a fully charged fire hose. Robots with the T-valve system might be used in conditions not stable or safe enough for a human firefighter entry.
The researchers created a new design to improve firefighting robots and increase maneuverability to fight fires better and save lives. The team developed the T-valve system through work with firefighting robots and the Purdue University Fire Department.
The Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization has filed a patent on the technology. They are looking for partners for continued research and to take the technology to market.