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After the Tsunami that devasteted the coast of Japan, there's a lot of people in the field of robotics who have shifted their research in a different direction. Rescue workers put their lives in great danger every time they enter the field, and there's a lot of places they can't go, situations they can't be in: the risk is simply too great.
What if we could just send in a robot instead?
A team of researchers from Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands Defence Academy and TNO Defence, Security, and Safety are working on a little black box which can distinguish just how much of an emergency a caller has. In other words, you call 911 to report that your house is on fire, and a 'trained' computer figures out how desperate you are.