German researchers at the University of Madgeburg-Stendal have developed a concept for a robot shaped like a pill millipede that could potentially detect and fight forest fires. Were the "OLE" a real robot, it would be able to scuttle around the forest floor at speeds of around 6 to 12 MPH, using infrared and "biosensors" to detect fire sources. If it gets into trouble, it can curl up just like a real pill bug and be fully protected thanks to a ceramic-fibre compound shell that can withstand temperature of 1,300 Degrees Centigrade. According to the researchers, 30 of these OLEs could protect a forest area as large as 2,700 square miles, whilst simultaneously freaking out hundreds of forest animals.

[Via GearFuse; thanks, Steve]

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OLE pill bug robot concept could fight forest fires