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Rescue robot designed

2010-04-20 10:09 BJT

BEIJING, April 20 -- A group of students at a Beijing university is developing an earthquake rescue robot.

The prototype was exhibited on Saturday at the 19th Fengru Cup, an annual students' science competition at Beihang University.

The recent Yushu earthquake ensured the silver robot drew a lot of attention, said Shen Wang, one of its principal designers.

"This is just a rudimentary model - we're not satisfied with it yet," said Shen, who is also a junior student at the university's school of astronautics. "We've spent 5,500 yuan so far on research and have a further 4,500 yuan left in our budget to perfect the robot."

The robot moves across the ground on continuous tracks (like those on tanks or construction equipment), can "walk" if necessary and can be reconfigured to stride over obstacles in rough terrain.

It also has a built-in camera and audio capabilities to make rescues easier. Shen said the idea for the robot came while he was volunteering in Beichuan county, Sichuan province, after the devastating 2008 earthquake.

"I returned again the following year, spending a total of more than 20 days there over the two trips," said Shen. "The damage shocked me a lot and I was inspired to do something."

Shen started designing the robot with the help of his friend, Gan.

"We worked all day long in the laboratory every Monday - lathing, washing, shaving, grinding and clamping," said Shen.

Several other students joined the pair and the team developed the working prototype within a year.

Editor: Zheng Limin | Source: Xinhua