MSNBC features TEES rescue robots, TEEX's Disaster City

October 28, 2011
| By: Aubrey Bloom

MSNBC's Future of Technology featured TEES' rescue robotics work as well as a unique training facility that is part of Texas A&M Engineering.

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Dr. Robin Murphy, a pioneer in the field of rescue robotics, has been working on developing technology -- including underwater robots -- to help emergency responders during a disaster. Murphy is the Raytheon Professor in Computer Science in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University.

In the video Murphy, director of the Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue (CRASAR), discusses underwater robots she has developed. Murphy led a team of research and industry experts and robots to the Minami Sanriku and Rikuzen Takata areas of Japan after that country's disastrous earthquake earlier this year. She also assisted in the use of aerial vehicles used for inspecting the Fukushima reactors. NSF co-funded the joint Japan-United States team that worked for five days in April using three different types of suitcase-size underwater robots called remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). Two of the robots have advanced imaging sonars that can penetrate the murky water along with video cameras. The robots were deployed at six locations along the coast north of Sendai, working in areas that were unsafe for Japanese Coast Guard divers.

In another video, Murphy discusses her so-called "mommy" robots -- larger robots that can carry and deploy smaller robots that can go places people can't go.

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Murphy was named one of the 2011 Most Influential Women in Technology by Fast Company magazine. She joined the faculty at Texas A&M in 2008 and is best known for her work with search and rescue robots which have been used in the rubble of the World Trade Center following the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, as well as in mud slides, caved-in-mines and collapsed buildings around the world.

Also featured is the Texas Engineering Extension Service's (TEEX) Disaster City, a unique training facility for emergency responders. The 52-acre facility delivers the full array of skills and techniques needed by today's urban search and rescue teams. TEEX is a member of The Texas A&M University System and part of its Engineering Program.

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