Void Networks in Collapsed Structures as a Guide for Development of Rescue Millirobots

Natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes often cause buildings to collapse and trap people underneath. This research project investigates the use of millirobots as a safe and potentially more effective alternative to human search and rescue mission after a natural disaster. Current new advances in millirobots allow the production of small and simple robots at relatively low cost and have the potential to safely access trapped survivors through void networks; however, very little is known about the environment in which they would need to function. CITRIS researchers are investigating and modeling the void size, shape and connectivity that can be expected after a seismic event, the most likely locations for survivors based on the type of structure and its collapse mechanism, and the type of mobility that is required of the millirobots to be effective.