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Cal Poly students create ember-extinguishing robot

Posted at 12:03 PM, Nov 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-20 15:03:25-05

A group of Cal Poly engineering students has created a robot to detect and extinguish embers from a wildfire.

Faculty members Richard Emberley and John Ridgely came up with the project in response to the 2018 Camp Fire, which destroyed the community of Paradise in Northern California.

Because embers from a wildfire can travel for miles and spark other fires, the faculty members wanted to give homeowners another tool to protect their properties.

The cylinder-shaped robot uses a Lepton thermal camera to detect embers. Once an ember is detected, the robot will then spray it with water. It can reportedly shoot water up to 25 feet away.

When the robot is sure the ember has been extinguished, it continues to patrol the area.

Project EMBER, which stands for Economical, Mechatronic, Burn-Extinguishing Robot, will be among more than 20 senior projects that will be on display during the Mechanical Engineering Department's Fall Project Expo on Friday, Nov. 22.