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Fire Fighting Robots Suck ... from Swimming Pools, that is

Robotic fire fighters use swimming pool water
  [vote for,

Headline: "Brush Fires Rage Out of Control in San Diego"

California brush fires move very rapidly, but don't last long since they are fueled by brush. A house could be saved if massive amounts of water could be pumped on it for a short period of time, say 10 minutes or so. In some of the posh neighborhoods of Southern California, more than half of the homes have pools in their backyards, but it gets a wee bit too hot for Joe Homeowner to stand in his backyard squirting his house from the pool.

To save Southern California homes from brush fires, an army of fireproof, remotely controlled, robotic vehicles enter burning neighborhoods, seek out swimming pools, and use pool water to douse nearby houses until the brush fire passes. Designed to be robust enough to smash through most privacy fences, Swimming Pool Fire Robots are equipped with water cannons and long, robotic arms to stick into pools and pump out the water. According to an alternative embodiment [Bungston's 4/4/04 comment] the Swimming Pool Fire Robots are dropped, or lowered, from helicopters into swimming pools near the burning areas, possibly with swimming pool detection means; e.g., picture analysis devices.

Swimming Pool Fire Robots are operated remotely, by firemen in a control van safely beyond the reaches of the flames. They are used when the brush fire rages close to homes and it is no longer safe for firemen using ordinary fire hoses attached to hydrants. Alternatively, Swimming Pool Fire Robots could be operated by a privately owned company. The rates would be negotiated with homeowners and insurance companies as the Swimming Pool Fire Robots roll up the street.

[In response to Worldgineer's 4/4/04 comment]: It is advantageous to use pool water rather than fire hydrants since dipping into a swimming pool is much easier to remotely achieve than coupling to a fire hydrant. And with a pool, massive amounts of water can be rapidly pumped -- whereas a hydrant has a much more limited flow.

Plus, it would be kind of fun to remotely operate a Swimming Pool Fire Robot. I hope someone builds one of these and lets me try it out. Hmmm...maybe I should contact the students at Caltech.

booleanfool, Apr 11 2004

Recommend: pool pumps http://www.iinc.org...tardant_plants.html
In the list of recs at the end - the pump. Not the robot one, though. [bungston, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]

Roof Pools http://www.halfbake...m/idea/Roof_20Pools
Another solution [Worldgineer, Oct 04 2004]

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       "Why, why was I programmed to feel pain!?"   

       On a more serious note, there aren't enough swimming pools for this to work, are there?
alc, Apr 11 2004

       Make sure to include the ability to climb over child-proof fences and punch through pool covers. California is quite litigious and hence most pools are difficult to access.
Worldgineer, Apr 11 2004

       [alc] Plenty of pools in San Diego and LA, the land of canyon brush fires. [Worldgineer] I envision a small, remote controlled, army tank-like vehicle -- about the size of a VW bug, but sufficiently robust enough to punch through homeowner fences. Could map out the pools in various neighborhoods ahead of time using GPS coordinates, since arial views may be obscured by smoke.
booleanfool, Apr 11 2004

       Do they not have fire hydrants in San Diego?
Worldgineer, Apr 11 2004

       A better way would be to equip these robots with picture analysis devices to home in on the blue, then drop them from helicopters with JDAM like devices to hom ein on the pools. The robots and JDAMs could be recovered after the fire.
bungston, Apr 11 2004

       Giant sprinklers that elevate from the bottoms of the pools to spray an acre each.
FarmerJohn, Apr 11 2004

       What I meant is that it is unlikely that any such robot would do anything more than simply slow down a fire... since it would probably take more than one pool's worth of water to douse a house.   

       Does anyone have any figures on how much water firefighters use? Perhaps a preventative step - little mechanisms in fences melt away from the heat of the fire, revealing sprinklers that feed off the waterworks nominally, but perhaps the pool's supply if firefighters are in need of each and every litre of water. Such a system would help delay a fire (much more efficient to stop a fire from starting than to extinguish one) until firefighters could arrive
alc, Apr 11 2004

       Pools in California are used for exactly that. Many homeowners own pool pumps to douse their yard / roof.
bungston, Apr 11 2004

       and fire departments can easy pump water from pools. i think the idea about robotic fire fighters deployed by the fire department when needed. use of water from pools to fight fire is not new. probably they robots should be able to self-hook up to hyndrants as well.
xx, Apr 11 2004

       /hyndrant/ - that's when the water is around back?
bungston, Apr 11 2004

       When I originally posted this idea I mistakenly kept it very concise, assuming that people would flesh it out in their comments. Instead I caught a creel full of fish, so I later (5/3/04) beefed up the description a bit to include details of the concept as I envision it.
booleanfool, May 03 2004

       [Bungston], I like the suggestion in your first 4/11 comment (although it sounds a bit skunky to me): /equip these robots with picture analysis devices/. Good suggestion for an embodiment that is dropped into pools from an aircraft -- I have incorporated it. Could use other similar technologies as well: Equip with the Swimming Pool Fire Robots with TERCOM loaded with data profile of the neighborhood presently on fire; have spotters light up the pool with lasers; or maybe have a space based ... naw, we all know that last one is not feasible.
booleanfool, May 06 2004

       Well, I imagined this was about swimming pool fires, which can be quite dangerous. And fighting them with robots! Alas, I was disappointed to find a practical idea instead...so I’m leaving...ah, wait a second. What if the homes were built over the swimming pools. And, when the brush fire threatened, gigantic screws could lower the homes into the pools, saving them from the flames! You could even mandate that in the zoning.
ldischler, May 06 2004

       [ldischler], well, why not. We have houses built *under* pools, as per Worldgineer's "Roof Pools" concept.   

       BTW, Pretty good timing on this idea, eh, in view of the brush fires now raging in Southern Cal. And no, I am presently on the other coast and did not start all those fires as a ruse to stem the buildup of fish bones for this tremendous, but unappreciated, idea. (flicks butt out of car window. speeds away.)
booleanfool, May 06 2004


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