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Slideshow: Military Robots Go Where Soldiers Can't
4/20/2012

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The Machine Lab's MMP-30 Mechanical Mobile Platform is used for explosive ordnance disposal in Iraq. It weighs 50 pounds (including control unit), measures about 23 inches long when collapsed, and can be carried in a backpack. Its pan/tilt color infrared camera has 180-degree pan and 150-degree tilt. The robot also sports a color, wide-angle gripper camera and a color, wide-angle rear-facing camera. The four-axis arm has a 20-inch reach and can lift five pounds at full extension. (Source: The Machine Lab)
The Machine Lab's MMP-30 Mechanical Mobile Platform is used for explosive ordnance disposal in Iraq. It weighs 50 pounds (including control unit), measures about 23 inches long when collapsed, and can be carried in a backpack. Its pan/tilt color infrared camera has 180-degree pan and 150-degree tilt. The robot also sports a color, wide-angle gripper camera and a color, wide-angle rear-facing camera. The four-axis arm has a 20-inch reach and can lift five pounds at full extension.
(Source: The Machine Lab)

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Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Cool robots
Ann R. Thryft   4/20/2012 12:37:59 PM
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Rob, "payload" very often means weapons or bombs of some kind in a military context. Customization options for some of these include hazmat, bomb disposal and other tactical options. That said, many of them can also be used for search-and-rescule operations. Stay tuned--I'm working on a search and rescue robot slideshow that will include firefighting and other robots, some like the ones Elizabeth just wrote about here:

http://www.designnews.com/document.asp?doc_id=242319


Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Nice variety of robots
Ann R. Thryft   4/20/2012 12:29:51 PM
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David, glad you liked the slideshow. But I'm afraid you're wrong about the iRobot identification--unless iRobot has misidentified them on its own website, which I doubt. The photos are identified with the correct model numbers and related spec sheet and application info. It takes a bit of digging to find these photos--they're in the press center.

 

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Cool robots
Rob Spiegel   4/20/2012 12:22:46 PM
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I see what you mean, Ann. Words such as payloads and user-customized options may be code for weapons. And with drones up in the air, we already have plenty of weaponized robots.

I can imagine tons of non military use for this robots.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Cool robots
Ann R. Thryft   4/20/2012 12:19:02 PM
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Rob, I also noticed that none of these are specifically weaponized. That's probably because for many of them the main function is search-and-rescue, reconnaissance/surveillance, or bomb disposal. However, descriptions of several of these robots mention "payloads" and user-customization options that imply the ability to attach weapons.


Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Robots a live saver
Ann R. Thryft   4/20/2012 12:18:12 PM
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Beth, that's an interesting point about design, and I'd expand it to say that designing robots for real apps has been highly influenced by both science fiction (novels and movies) and video games, both of which have also produced kids war toys. Especially video games. Soldiers have been trained for combat using video games. I then wonder what happens when people trained to do video game killing do actual killing...but that's another topic. Meanwhile, these robots do save human lives.


DavidG_or
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Nice variety of robots
DavidG_or   4/20/2012 12:08:19 PM
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These robots are all pretty cool.  I like the ReconRobotics'  Scout XT Microbot, it is a cool little robot. 

The image shown for the iRobot first responder is actually a Surveyor SRV-1 Blackfin robot - http://www.surveyor.com/SRV_info.html

The iRobot model should show this FirstLook I think - http://www.irobot.com/us/robots/defense/firstlook.aspx

 

 

 

 

 

Rob Spiegel
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Cool robots
Rob Spiegel   4/20/2012 11:27:51 AM
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Excellent slide show, Ann. What a wide range of robots, from the incredibly complex to the relatively simple. My favorite is the BigDog. Interestingly, none of these seem to be weaponized. 

naperlou
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Re: Robots a live saver
naperlou   4/20/2012 10:06:50 AM
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Beth, those were some interesting observations.  What this reminds me of is Robot Wars.  I think the show origniated in the UK.  It has since moved to the US and probably other countries.  These robots look a lot like those robots, which we made by hobyists. 

As for the kids, they seem to always pick up on war toys.  I know people who would not let their kids have violent toys (no guns, tanks, etc.).  Whenever they had the chance, they would make a gun out of a stick, or some such thing.  It just seems to be how they are built.

Beth Stackpole
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Robots a live saver
Beth Stackpole   4/20/2012 7:21:16 AM
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I'm all for the idea of sending robots--not humans--to bear to brunt of war whenever and wherever possible. I have to say, though, in looking through this slide show (which was pretty amazing, BTW) I couldn't help but think I'm looking at bunch of toys for grown ups. We're talking lifesize Transformers and Iron Man and those crazy killing machines from James Cameron's movie Avatar. I don't know what that says about the psychological connections between the toys we give our children and propensity for going to war. I'm not for either. But I suppose the practicalities of geopolitics means that developments on the military robot front can translate into lives saved and that's a good thing.

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