My research is looking at using robots to help with urban search and rescue missions
Watch: Our interview with Christina
My research is looking at using robots to help with urban search and rescue missions. When a disaster like an earthquake or a flood happens, we get partially collapsed or fully collapsed buildings and then rescuers have to go in the building, locate and extract survivors. Robots can help us with this. We can send them in and have them explore and map the area using onboard sensors and that’s been done quite a lot.
What we’re proposing is using architectural drawings or floor plans to extract meaningful priors so we can use that information to produce better maps but we can also use it to identify differences between what we expect to see and what we do see and then flag those areas as potentially dangerous to those first responders.
I grew up in a family of engineers and it was an option from a young age. I knew what it was about but then when I was in High School I was given Isaac Asimov’s ‘I, Robot’ as a present. Reading about intelligent machines, how they can help people, what kind of tasks they can help us with, got me very excited about the area. So I went to my parents and said “what do I have to study to do this” and they said “engineering”.
People often have misconceptions of what being an engineer means. When I was at school, I had people asking me why I wanted to go and fix cars. This not what engineering is about, especially my area of engineering in robotics. You can create robots that help the elderly, that can assemble cars and can work in factories. There’s so many things you can do as an engineer, it’s all about shaping the future. You’re the person who designs what happens next and I find that truly fascinating.
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