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From salami to HERO, robot entrepreneur isn't talking sandwiches

When Mike Cardarelli was a University of Cincinnati mechanical engineering technology major, he only hoped that he could design a good salami-rolling machine for his senior project.

Now? He's the man behind the HERO a Hazardous Environment Robot Observer being used by authorities all across the country.

Cardarelli's Amelia, Ohio-based company, First-Response Robotics, produces agile, mobile robots that are special not only because they detect chemical and biological hazards, but because they can transmit their data and video live. Previously, robots had to be decontaminated and their data downloaded for analysis before authorities could proceed.

A HERO is not like what we've seen in movies. For example, "Bomb disposal robots are large; they grab the threat and dispose it," Cardarelli says. These robots are more sophisticated.

The HERO can lift more than 100 pounds and travel 10 feet per second. It can climb stairs. If it topples over, it can right itself. Features include night-vision cameras, arms that extend to 35 inches, and two-way communication. One even has been adapted with a special shelf, enabling it to safely deliver pizza to hostages.

Customers include the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and numerous law enforcement departments. Plus, a construction company has been looking into using one of Cardarelli's robots to more safety and accurately make chalk lines for placing main support beams on high-rise buildings. Human error was 1/8 of an inch; HERO error was 1/16 in a test, Cardarelli says.

"And the unions approved of the idea."

Source: Mike Cardarelli, First-Response Robotics
Writer: Gabriella Jacobs

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