Tragically, recent events in Bangladesh have focused many minds on the need for more effective search and rescue tools.
One new idea is to use an innovative - though admittedly unsettling - robotic snake, which can worm its way into a 'pancaked' building and search for survivors.
It's a new application of the device developed at Carnegie Mellon University, which has also been demonstrated climbing trees, latching onto poles and other feats of potentially useful dexterity and agility.
The key to the robot's success is its ability to move across any kind of terrain, without the risk it will call of be catastrophically crushed by debris.
In a disaster it would be able to reach areas other search-and-rescue tech, animals or personnel could not, providing vital information that could save lives.
Of course it's still a long way off from a practical implementation in a disaster, but it's an intriguing idea. Lean more at the Carnegie Mellon Biorobotics lab's website.