How robots will save your life when disaster strikes

A team at Carnegie Mellon University is working on the Cooperative Robotic Watercraft, a low-cost airboat that can be deployed in small platoons to serve the joint task of discovering and reporting what’s going on, as well as delivering critical supplies to isolated victims.
How it works
An army of cheap, easy-to-assemble fan boats is set loose upon a flooded region, surveying environmental conditions and delivering aid. So far, researchers have developed (PDF) several models model for a plastic boat that’s propelled by a large fan, and connected to the outside word with a commercial smartphone, which relays GPS coordinates and data captured from any on-board sensors. The phone connects to everything else through a simple Arduino interface.