Designed for search and rescue missions - which, let's face it, are only ever one loose word away from "search and destroy" - the SCRATCHbot uses its whiskers to detect disaster survivors in inhospitable or dangerous areas. The Bristol Robotics Laboratory
developed the rat-inspired people searcher over the past 6 years and now hopes to find interest for it in underground and underwater projects where vision may be impaired. Far less heroic uses are also being contemplated, such as textile inspection and implementation inside intelligent vacuum cleaners that would be able to adjust their cleaning to the particular surface they sense. Video of the new bot coming to life is after the break.