OLATHE, Kan. —The Olathe Fire Department is testing out new technology that could help keep firefighters safe. Thanks to a new partnership with Squishy Robotics, the department now has access to three new tensegrity robots that can be used to prevent exposure to hazardous chemicals.
The six-month pilot program will allow firefighters to get hands-on experience operating the new technology. Using a drone, firefighters can easily drop the Squishy Robot into spaces it would be unsafe to send a person.
Squishy Robots are made of flexible materials that allow it to be dropped from extreme heights. The built-in camera gives a 360 view of an active emergency that first responders can view using a laptop from a distance.
Captain Mike Hall with the Olathe Fire Department said the goal is to keep first residents and firefighters safe while collecting real-time information on an active emergency.
“This is a technology we can deploy with a person. We can throw it somewhere, or we can use other technology like a drone to drop it where we want it,” Hall said. “Once it gets down, it actually has cameras on it, so we can get the real-time information. We can also use different types of sensors to figure out if there is something in an area that is hazardous.”
When the six-month pilot period ends in 2022, the Olathe Fire Department will have the option to transition to a discounted purchase agreement with Squishy Robotics.