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St. Pete robot goes on rescue recon

11:43 PM, Sep 22, 2005   |    comments
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By:Kathryn Bursch
St. Petersburg, Florida - With its eye-like lights, it’s almost a little eerie watching this small robot go to work. But some stairs at a St. Petersburg home are hardly a workout for the little guy. After all, in recent weeks the robot has crawled its way up and over and through debris left by Hurricane Katrina. Mark Micire, American Standard Robotics: ”We were searching the structures looking for victims.” Mark Micire volunteered his time and robot technology to work with Florida Task Force 3 in Biloxi. The search and rescue team, based in Hillsborough, went through house after house in the storm zone looking for hurricane victims. And when engineers deemed a structure too unstable to search, that’s when the robot went on recon. Mark Micire, American Standard Robotics: ”It has a camera on it and we have zoom capabilities on the camera. It has lights, so what we’re able to do is essentially extend the rescuers eyes into the structure.” The robot is also equipped with a two-way audio system so the operator can communicate with any trapped survivors. Micire’s company is marketing the robot to search and rescue teams across the country. The robotic system runs about $40,000. But in this dangerous work inside teetering, topsy-turvy buildings, Micire says it’s better to risk a robot than a life.

Kathryn Bursch, Tampa Bay's 10 News

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