Tokyo Tech News
Professor Kazuhiro Nakadai of the Department of Systems Control and Engineering, School of Engineering has received the Innovation Generation Award from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications in the auditory technology category for his work on "listening drones that help find victims needing rescue during disasters." Nakadai received the award at the Innovation Program Award ceremony held on October 24, 2018.
The government's innovation program, now in its fifth year, supports people who take on ambitious R&D challenges in information and communications technology that potentially result in disruptive value creation on a global scale. This year, 10 achievements from 10 different fields were recognized from 10,440 entries.
The idea of listening drones evolved from my research into auditory robots, which I first initiated immediately after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake in an attempt to provide something that can be utilized disaster sites. If we could provide drones with an auditory function, then we could detect voices calling for help or ringtones of mobile phones, and that would enable us to offer a means of search and rescue in areas that are buried in rubble and are inaccessible by emergency vehicles. After ongoing research and development, we were able to create an actual physical device that was demoed in an outdoor environment, and this award is the result of that work. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the collaborators who participated in this research — Professor Hiroshi Okuno from Waseda University, Associate Professor Makoto Kumon from Kumamoto University, Assistant Professor Kotaro Hoshiba from Kanagawa University, Project Manager Satoshi Tadokoro and the team involved in the ImPACT Tough Robotic Challenge, and all the members of the Nakadai Lab.
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