A group of researchers at Michigan Technological University has engineered a table-top prototype of a robot that can generate power during blackouts and power failures.
“The team has programmed robots to restore power in small electrical networks, linking up power cords and batteries to light a little lamp or set a flag to waving with a small electrical motor. The robots operate independently, choosing the shortest path and avoiding obstacles, just as you would want them to if they were hooking up an emergency power source to a cell tower.”
“If we can regain power in communication towers, then we can find the people we need to rescue. And the human rescuers can communicate with each other. Unfortunately, cell towers are often located in hard-to-reach places. If we could deploy robots there, that would be the first step toward recovery,” Nina Mahmoudian, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, said.
They are impressive models because they are able to carry batteries and can recharge each other. The team is also working to include power converters in these robots as well as finding methods that enable them to carry generators.
The robots also have the possibility of being utilized in the military and in underwater projects or missions because of their “autonomous power distribution system.”
The team will continue to work towards the development of a full-size robot and develop real life uses for these machines.