Heat-seeking firebot drowns out the flames

This robot can find and extinguish fires automatically. It is the culmination of an Embedded Design class project from last school year. [Dan] and his classmates developed a turret that holds both a spray nozzle and heat sensor which would be a fantastic building block for a real-life tower defense game.

The jewel of the sensor array is a TPA81 thermopile array. Note the use of the term ‘array’ in the name. This is more like eight temperature sensors aligned with each other. By monitoring them all, the direction from which the most heat is coming can be determined. Once it’s zeroed in on the fire getting water to the right place can be a difficult task. That’s where the other sensors come into play. An accelerometer allows the bot to determine the angle of the spray nozzle (a weed sprayer was used in this case). An ultrasonic range finder and few algorithms let the Arduino which drives it all make sure that the arc of the water lands on the hot spot. This is all shown quite clearly in the clip below the jump.


  1. Harvie.CZ says:

    This can kill you when you are using hairdryer or something :-)

  2. Jay says:

    It seems like a portable fire extinguisher would be better than water. The bot would have more fire-stopping power and wouldn’t need to be linked to a water source or to lug around a lot of weight.

  3. NewCommentor1283 says:

    looks like he has one of them there cat repellers

    execellent work! no cats getting sprayed? lol

  4. ameyring says:

    Mount this on a firetruck boom and it will automatically guide itself to water the hot spots, and get really close without putting firefighters in danger.

  5. Rich says:

    Replace the water hose with a high-powered laser, tune the sensors to 98F, and use it for home defense.

  6. Bob says:

    I predict a robopocalypse caused by fire extinguishing robots that extinguish every fire any human attempts to start, and as result causes the collapse of civilization.

  7. jimmy says:

    Reminded me instantly of a scene in “Metropolis” (the Osamu Tezuka Anime) where dozens of small autonomous robots work collectively to fight a fire. This type of stuff has some thought-provoking implications…

  8. Alan says:

    For solids (wood) the spray should start at the bottom, and work its way up. For liquids (oil, cooking fat) you use foam – and you aim at the back wall, letting the foam come toward you. Failure to use this technique “splashes” the burning liquid over a wider area.
    So when the sprayer aimed high, it wasn’t a bug – it was a FEATURE of the next version.

  9. Gregg says:

    If you douse me again, and I’m not on fire, I’m donating you to a city college. Please don’t follow me around with it either because I feel like I’m going to catch on fire spontaneously. Just stand down. If something happens, then come in.

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