This week TiaLinx has unveiled its Phoenix 40-A unmanned hexacopter (helicopter with six blades) which can sense breathing and motion in buildings on the ground. This is the newest addition to the line of life-sensing bots that includes the Cougar20-H, a rolling ground-based robot that can detect breathing through a concrete wall. The US Army has provided development funding for this project.
The copter is able to travel long distances and record video in both day and night vision formats. It uses a narrow beam of multi=gigahertz radio frequencies to penetrate reinforced concrete and detect breathing and movement inside a building. It can land on top of a building and perform a scan for human presence, or it can scan while flying. The copter can also generate the layout of a multi-story building and send that information back to troops or law enforcement so that they have an idea of what they are walking into before entering a building.
But wait, there's more. This bot can help locate land mines as well. Aside from the obvious military and surveillance applications of the hexacopter, it would be very useful in search and rescue operations like in Japan after the earthquake and Tsunami. Since it can travel over long distances and get into spots where people are not able to travel, it could help to lead rescuers more quickly to survivors of disasters.
We were not able to immediately locate specs, such as how far it can travel, how large it is, or the fuel it uses.
[via Discovery News]