Looking for ways to improve safety for those in professions that could be life threatening, The ImPACT TRC Program has been at work developing a fire-fighting “disaster robot.”

Making its debut in recent weeks, the three-meters long prototype is called Dragon Fire Fighter due to its ability to quench fires as the robot is attached to a hose. When operational, the robot earns its name as it mimics the movements of a dragon.

In addition to helping fire-fighters extinguish fires in hard-to-reach locations, the robot can also, using a thermal camera, locate where the fire first started.

According to reports, the robot "can fly up and extinguish fires beyond obstacles in places that could be difficult for human firefighters to reach. They envisage it being used to fight fires in high-rise buildings, large warehouses and other places where it is difficult to approach the source of the blaze."

The report also noted that, "Special devices with four holes each are attached to the tip and middle of the hose, ejecting water to propel the robot through the air. High-pressure jets of water on the head of the robot and in a middle section are used to lift it off the ground."

"There have been robots in the past that go into dangerous areas in place of firefighters, but this is the first to fly over an obstacle and directly extinguish a fire," said Satoshi Tadokoro, Tohoku University professor and research lead.

As for the future of the device, "Researchers envisage the robot being attached to the end of a ladder or another object, and they plan to extend its reach to about 20 meters in the future. They aim to put it to practical use within three years," Tadokoro said.

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