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7 students have built a simple probe to mimic live disasters in a distant room

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James Woodson
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In 2015, seven students from Imperial College of London turned to IBM for help with a class project.Their assignment?

The team decided to build an environmental probe that'd measure temperature, light, and movement — then beam that data back to a lab, which would recreate emergency conditions in real-time.The students made a device powered by a Raspberry Pi  a programmable computer that fits in the palm of your hand , then deployed it into the most extreme environment they could get access to: the edge of space.John McNamara, who helps people invent things for a living at IBM's Innovation Center in Hursley, England, mentored the students to help them build the space probe in less than a month.McNamara told Tech Insider the project could be a way for first responders to train for disasters before having to enter dangerous situations themselves.

Now floats majestically in my office @IBMmessaging @IBMBluemix pic.twitter.com/W63xim0asj — John McNamara @j0nnymac June 30, 2015This space probe was the very first prototype, but it could turn into a real tool that could help first responders during natural disasters one day.

For now, McNamara said he's working on developing the probe into a drone equipped with artificial intelligence that could measure temperature, air quality, and social media feeds above a disaster area.But the new drone would be smart — really smart — since it'd use IBM Watson to survey disaster areas and identify people who need help.

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