Providing Lifesaving, Cost-Saving Information 
in Real Time through Rapidly Deployable Mobile Sensor Robots
for Disaster and Emergency Response. 

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   Share the news in our November 2022 newsletter. 
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Squishy Robotics wins NIST communications testing award

“The communication of time-critical, life-saving data to first responders consists of both the reliable transmission of data—a task that often must be performed in less-than-ideal situations—as well as the presentation of data in a way that is easily digestible and actionable,” said Squishy Robotics COO Deniz Dogruer. Squishy Robotics sensor robots and associated software need to excel at both to better ensure the safety of the first responders that employ our products. “This grant will help our company to improve product communications as well as to conduct significant user experience testing that we believe will result in important first responder-recommended product improvements.” 

Squishy Robotics has recently begun a year of testing communications equipment, protocols, and software, which is funded by a NIST PSCR grant award. The Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) Division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is a federal laboratory that focuses on evaluation of and improvements for public safety communications technologies. NIST is a non-regulatory agency under the U.S. Department of Commerce that develops standards that apply to various industries. 
Both Southern Manatee Fire & Rescue (SMFR), our pilot partner since mid-2020, and Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) are public safety partnering agencies for this grant-funded testing. Squishy Robotics will work with firefighters and HazMat team members from SMFR to better understand and improve the first responder user experience.
In fact, some of the testing scenarios grew out of real emergencies that SMFR team members detailed during customer feedback meetings.
In addition to the user testing that will be performed in Florida with SMFR, communciations testing and data collection will take place at and in association with Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX). “Squishy Robotics has been working with TEEX personnel during
the proposal writing and after the award announcement to outline and then detail the testing protocols for our robots,” Dogruer said. As part of this testing, Squishy Robotics team members will work closely with an advisory panel of subject matter professionals with experience in hazardous materials and emergency response operations. TEEX trains more than 100,000 emergency responders from all 50 states as well as from countries around the world. 
“We feel privileged to be working with TEEX and its team of emergency response and homeland security experts.” Dogruer added that “our time in Texas will be spent working with highly regarded authorities in world-class facilities.” The TEEX Brayton Fire Training Field has a huge collection and variety of fire trucks and vehicles—it is important to ensure that our robots can function well and without, for example, radio interference when surrounded by the variety of equipment and vehicles that respond to a typical HazMat scene.

TEEX Brayton is adjacent to Disaster City, a 52-acre training facility located in College Station (the site of the main Texas A&M University campus). Dogruer explained that the facility, which includes collapsed buildings and train derailments, provides an authentic, real-world environment for the testing of emergency equipment.  

Future newsletter articles will keep readers updated about these testing activities and findings.
Horizons: On the Record, Growing Green Jobs 

Video highlights Squishy Robotics' contribution to green jobs growth 

Squishy Robotics sensor robots and executive and engineering team members are featured in a recent episode of Horizons: On the Record that focuses on growing green jobs that can help combat climate change. CEO Dr. Alice Agogino, COO Deniz Dogruer, and Lead Mechatronics Engineer Douglas Hutchings discussed how our company robots and technologies are helping in HazMat response and in wildfire mitigation.

“Robotics can address particular problems that can help industries do better in terms of climate change,” Hutchings said, during a demonstration of drone-deployment and drop testing of tensegrity robots in footage that was filmed at our testing site in Richmond, CA. Such robotics solutions require “multiple disciplines—it’s a ‘team sport,’” he stated.

Dogruer expanded on Hutchings’s point about how people with various skills are needed to bring new ideas to reality. She explained that “cool, innovative technologies” are not enough by themselves to solve difficult and multifaceted problems like climate change. “You need people who are able to identify the problem, listen to the customer, and develop a solution that fits into a workflow.”

Horizons: On the Record is a streamed and cable televised (via Comcast) show that is produced by
Jobs for the Future (JFF), a non-profit that focuses on the American workforce and education systems to achieve equitable economic advancement for all.

Company participates in UTAC 

Billed as “the most realistic and immersive UAS training conference in the World," the Unmanned Tactical Application Conference, or UTAC 2022, took place at the end of October. Squishy Robotics was a proud sponser of UTAC for the second year in a row. 

Squishy Robotics Lead Mechatronics Engineer Douglas Hutchings attended the multiday conference, which was held at the Guardian Centers, the 880-acre disaster response training facility in Georgia. Hutchings manned the conference display area, demonstrating our tensegrity sensor robots while meeting emergency personnel attendees from across the U.S. and the world. A licensed drone pilot, Hutchings also participated in some of the conference's unmanned aircraft system (UAS) search and rescue trainings.
“UTAC provides several immersive, real-world scenarios along with training exercises and presentations for attendees from law enforcement, fire and rescue, and special operations teams,” Hutchings said. “It is an important event for our customers—and future customers—where they get to learn about, operate, and evaluate some of the most advanced technologies that are available.” 
FLYMOTION, the organizer and principal sponsor of UTAC, is a Squishy Robotics reseller.

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