Southern Manatee Fire & Rescue (SMFR), a Squishy Robotics pilot partner since 2020, is well-known within the fire service for being a leader in the integration of new technologies for HazMat response. Such technologies must be safe to operate in even the most extreme of environments.
SMFR has become recognized for the team’s MythBusters–style tests to determine the safety of operating drones in flammable environments. Squishy Robotics recently asked the department to put our 4-GasPLUS drone-droppable/throwable sensor robot through its testing paces
“When you develop technology for first responders, things like product durability and reliability take on a whole new level of importance,” said Squishy Robotics COO Deniz Dogruer. “Ensuring that a technology is safe to operate in the extreme environments in which first responders often must work is an essential requirement.”
In potentially flammable environments, it is critical that the tools and gear that first responders use will not introduce additional risk by causing the environment to spark. During the first part of the flammability testing, hydrogen gas was pumped into an SMFR testing chamber to determine the safety of operating the 4-GasPLUS sensor robot in such a combustible environment. Once testing confirmed that operating the sensor robot did not, by itself, cause an explosion, a spark was induced to determine the sensor robot’s survivability.
Squishy Robotics is pleased to report that our 4-GasPLUS sensor robot survived the explosion with all hardware intact. Importantly, the robot continued to transmit—with no interruption—all sensor data and camera video feeds to the Squishy Robotics user interface (UI) during and after the explosion. Click here to watch a video of the SMFR testing.
While this testing does not replace Intrinsic Safety Certification, it is an important first step toward such an accreditation and is a significant confirmation that the sensors are safe to operate in potentially flammable environments. This flammability testing was conducted during recent user interface/user experience (UI/UX) testing with SMFR first responders as part of our collaborative NIST grant work. Future newsletters will describe the activities and the results of the UI/UX testing.