• By Alex S

Fairfield County Hazard Materials Team

On November 4th, the team took a field trip to a local hazardous materials handling team! We brought the “Smith's Bot”, which was developed by team alum Jun Pritsker. He built it during an internship at Smith's Detection in an effort to create a long distance material identifier that can keep operators out of potential harm. It had an Ace-ID scanner mounted on the front, with two cameras for navigation. We wanted to show the HazMat team its potential, and gave them a demo of the capabilities. We drove it on asphalt and grass, and identified materials through both a plastic bottle and bag. They described it as “impressive”, and were surprised by its simplicity and ease of use (it is operated with only a laptop and game controller). They were also interested in our future plan of untethering it, so it can operate wirelessly and from a greater distance. The team gained a valuable new perspective about the potential of robots from a non-engineer's perspective. We were able to see what they thought without any prior knowledge of how it was built, and were not biased. Overall, we were pleased with their reaction.