Ubiko Robot A Fireman's Friend

Ubiko is a new robot that can sniff out the odor of fire. Ubiko is the result of a collaboration between robot-maker tmsuk, Kyushu University and the Kanazawa Institute of Technology.

(Ubiko checks for fire)

Ubiko is forty-four inches tall, and weighs about 132 pounds. Ubiko is described as having a humanoid appearance, but to me it looks sort of cat-like. It moves on wheels.

Ubiko is equipped with a set of olfactory sensors that are designed to detect the odors of smoke and ash. In a recent test at Kyushu University, Ubiko patrolled four rooms. One smelled of perfume, a second of garlic, a third of cigarettes while the fourth room was odorless.

Ubiko correctly identified the room with cigarettes has having the smell of materials on fire.

I hope frequent readers of Technovelgy will forgive me the obvious reference of the mechanical hound from Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, which also had olfactory capabilities. It appears that the cat-like Ubiko would be handier for firemen, though, since Bradbury's hound was better at catching individual people through their olfactory indecies. And, of course, there's that whole thing about the firemen in Fahrenheit 451 actually setting the fires, rather than putting them out...

Don't miss the rest of the robot sniffer news:

Tmsuk is one of those companies that just keep bringing out the science-fictional in robotics; take a look at the shopping assistant that carries your bags.

Via Ubiko robot knows where the smokers hang.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 2/22/2007)

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