On average, more than 30,000 fire calls occur in Hong Kong every year. Some serious fires not only endanger the public but also pose significant risks to firefighters who enter the fire scene. Dr Xinyan Huang, Deputy Director of the Research Centre for Fire Safety Engineering and Associate Professor of the Department of Building Environment and Energy Engineering of PolyU, is committed to researching and developing a number of intelligent fire-fighting solutions and products.
Among them, the "Toroidal Vortex Cannon", commonly known as the "Air Cannon", can extinguish fires from a distance without the need for water. When combined with intelligent robots capable of locating and autonomously extinguishing fire source without manual operation, it is expected to be applied in dangerous fire situations in the long run, where water is unsuitable or personnel cannot get close to the fire scene. This application could better protect the public and firefighters. Dr Huang's research project, titled "Smouldering Wildfire," has also been awarded the "Excellent Young Scientists Fund” from the National Natural Science Foundation of China this year.
In a recent interview with Wen Wei Po, Dr Huang revealed that the team’s intelligent robots can automatically identify flames, fuels and personnel in darkness and smoke through sensors, eliminating the need for manual operation. The team is designing different options, such as the use of new materials to enable the robots to travel through fire scenes. They are also exploring the use of equipment to hoist the robots into position, allowing them to carry out works such as personnel search and fire extinguishing fires, and so on.
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