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The story of Mendoza students who created robots to save lives

The prototype was developed by boys from two schools in Maipu. Robots provide support in critical situations such as fires or landslides.


In March of this year  a group of students  from Maipucinas  technical schools  , Guillermo Villanueva and Horacio Román Martínez Leanez,  started working in prototypes of different robots programmed for different tasks. As they themselves make clear, it is a work that never comes to an end, as they are constantly retouching and updating it.

In this situation there is the “Zorro 1”, a robot that allows exploration in vulnerable places where fires or landslides may have occurred. And it is the prototype that yesterday its young developers presented to the Government, and with which the Tactical Explosives Division of Mendoza will work to adapt it to situations where their intervention is indispensable. Whether to handle explosives or to make a first scan in a critical area where a landslide or fire has occurred.

 “ The division and teachers of the two schools are going to start meeting with the intention of studying and modifying the prototype to be able to use it in real situations,” said DGE Director of Digital Integration Policies, Mónica Pérez, during the presentation that the adolescents themselves made to Governor Alfredo Cornejo and to the authorities of that division of the Mendoza Police.

 Release date 

 “ We are going to have meetings with the two schools and their students, and we calculate that before the end of the year the project will be completed,” said Commissioner Luis Donoso, head of the Tactical Explosives Division. The specialist said that in 2020 the project could be being completed, and “Zorro 1” would already be able to intervene in multiple contingencies or disasters.

 “ The 'Zorro 1' allows you to explore places where a collapse has occurred; and we thought to do it because it is important in a province like Mendoza that is in a seismic zone,” said Aymará Videla (18), a student of the Villanueva school and one of the creators of the robot.

 “ None of us imagined that we were going to end up presenting him to the brigade for use. But it is a good idea, because it allows to save at least 3 lives: that of the person who may have been trapped under the rubble, that of the rescuer who enters the site, and that of the dog who participates in the operatives,” synthesized the fifth year students of Electromechanics, proud of their robots.


From the moment his “parents” gave him life, Zorro 1 was designed with a key goal: that the prototype could be the first to enter a critical area exploration with the mission of detecting if there are fires, gas losses, and even people trapped in the rubble. “ He looks for people and also provides the necessary information so that rescuers have a first screen before entering,” added Aymará and his schoolmates Villanueva.

Although Zorro 1 was developed by the boys of this establishment, yesterday's meeting also participated students and teachers of Martinez Leanez. “ What has been presented to the governor and the members of the Ministry of Security division is a project that will bring together the two prototypes that the boys have made. On the one hand, the fifth and sixth year students of Villanueva; and on the other hand, the fourth and sixth year students of Martinez Leanez,” said the director of Digital Integration Policies.

A year and a half ago that unit started working on training for teachers in technical schools and equipment to build robots. And it was in that context that there was the first approach with the  Tactical Explosives Division. 

Source:  Diario Los Andes 

Publication Date: 17/12/2019

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