Henrik Christensen from the Georgia Institute of Technology is building tiny robots to map building interiors. These small robots communicate with each other to map out the entire interior of a building. This could be very useful in dangerous situations. Henrik states:
If those first responders could send in robots that would quickly search the structure and send back a map, they’d have a much better sense of what to expect and they’d feel more confident.
The work at Georgia Tech is part of MAST (Micro Autonomous Systems & Technology), a program sponsored by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory and led by BAE Systems. The objective is to create tiny palm sized devices that help civilians and the military with situations in confined spaces.
Mapping by the robots is done with a video camera, a laser scanner and a technique called SLAM. In the future they hope to make the robots smaller than they are now and add radar, to detect objects or people through walls.