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Robot provides 3-D images of dangerous locations

Soldiers and first responders may soon have a better way to evaluate the interior of dangerous structures, thanks to a joint project between Missouri University of Science and Technology and the University of Missouri-Columbia.   As part of the project, which began in 2008, students at Missouri S&T have built a remote-controlled robot that is equipped with an infrared camera and LIDAR (light detection and ranging) technology. Like radar, LIDAR sends out signals, in this case millions of laser points, to bounce off objects and provide feedback. The LIDAR-equipped robot then wirelessly relays detailed images to a laptop computer.
"We can get a 3-D map of rooms by sending the robot inside or having it look through a window," says Dr. Norbert Maerz, associate professor of geological engineering at Missouri S&T. "Even when you can't see through windows, you can still scan through them with LIDAR. Using this information, soldiers or first responders could evaluate safety issues and determine strategies." Read more and look at the images at http://news.mst.edu/2010/02/robot_provides_3-d_images_of_d.html
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