WIFI Robot to the Rescue


During disasters, one of greatest challenges of a disaster response team is setting up a communication network. Especially in extreme cases where phone lines, cell sites and power are down. An open communication line may be a lifeline for someone in danger. It may even serve as a light of hope of those waiting outside the disaster area. Professor Andreas Mitschele of the Ilmenau University of Technology and his team met this challenge by designing a “quadcopter” – independent helicopter designed robots outfitted with satellite navigation and radio devices based on VIA Pico-ITX computers. This model of flying robot is capable of putting together a wireless network of radios. Because of their mobility, they could be deployed and reach their target area to provide radio communication in a short time. This new device can provide mobile phone and other communication resources that can be used to ask for help or assistance even in the absence of standard utility or infrastructure. The quadcopter costs around 300 euros, but the main concern is the battery which costs around 1000 euros for a 20-minute power. This is, however, for the flight time only, the robot can adjust its position to a high structure or elevation to provide the network coverage. The people on the project are looking for more minds to perfect the design and continue the research on radio technology for a device that may one day save millions of life.

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