The Search And Rescue Page

“Search and Rescue” in robotics is a euphemism for “We don’t know what to do with it, but it might be useful as a weapon… but we don’t want to be seen to be making weapons”.

It’s a euphemism for “we’ve invented this really cool thing, but we don’t know what it’s for, LOL”

But they don’t want to say that so they say “search and rescue?”

And who knows. Maybe they will actually come in handy for searching and rescuing… I’m sure they will, but there’s no way that the number of them being made is justified by the number of people that actually get lost. Besides, we saw after Katrina what happens when there’s a really major disaster – people wealthy enough to have cars fuck off, and the poor are left behind to die. The Free-Market in action. After three days, the stragglers are herded what is essentially an open, ad-hoc concentration camp governed by the law of the jungle. Then when the water has receded, the corporate-owned state use it as an excuse to privatise the schools, and “relocate” the poor away from neighbourhoods with too much redevelopment potential.

It’s said somewhere that all human drama boils down to two basic problems: People who won’t leave, and people who won’t stay.

We’ve got a major lie at the heart of many of our institutions… pretending to look after the latter when they’re really more interested in exercising the former… and vice versa. This is the conflict at heart of the “immigration” issue: “We’re racist, but we like paying sub-minimum-wage wages”. Searchbots dance a two-step along this line… spying and rescue. All the money is in spying, but public sympathy is in rescue.

But anyway. Cynicism aside,

This is a page that will be re-edited over time… a compilation of search and rescue robots (which are (more often than not) not actually robots, but remote controlled gadgets)

1) Seedpod

From the University of Maryland. A military rocket-powered variant here… which hints at search and rescue by talking about Police and Fire departments… but doesn’t come right out and say it. It’s been canned now anyway – probably because of the whole “utterly fucking insane” wrinkle that proved to be a tricky one to iron out.

2) A ball bot

3) cool hovery thing from a couple of days ago.

4) Scary looking Cephalic thing

4) An interesting three legged wheely thing from the University of Minnesota’s Center for Distributed Robotics.

it can go up stairs… which is cool if you get lost upstairs.

5) There are a lot that look a bit like this:


And they do appear, at least partly to have been designed specifically with search and rescue in mind… rather than making a cool toy and then trying to justify it afterwards (you don’t have to. Cool toys are cool)

6) LOL Ecofriend


Ecofriend is a website that specialises in “green” solutions that are basically just digital renderings/drawings of things that won’t ever be made. The thing above has been made though – it’s a bendy toy/sculture from… you can buy them on Etsy for a couple of hundred quid… and yea, they’re quite neat…. but ecofriend reports it as though it’s an actual green, search and rescue robot – rather than an 8 inch tall plastic toy. Eco-snakeoil salesmen.

7) and to be fair, some of them are real

This one being interesting because (apparently) there’s a mother bot and lots of little babybots that go off doing the searching. Used after 9/11 apparently – though I’m kindof over 9/11 now. It’s turned into Godwin’s Law style justification for really damaging “conservative” decisions.

8) Whole mass of them hereSome of these are really cool actually. Animal tanks.

Anyway. That’s enough for now. I’ll add more as I find them… which is usually a couple a week.

1 Comment » for The Search And Rescue Page
  1. Damn, Nick. This post’s text was the clearest, most honest analysis of things I’ve heard yet. Bravo your firm grasp of man’s foibles and folly… as it were.

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  1. […] while back I said I was going to have all the search and rescue bots on one page. Well I can’t be arsed with that… so they’re going to be on pages linked with the […]