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Slideshow: See the Joint Robotics Repair Detachment in Action

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Ann R. Thryft
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So that's how military robots keep going
Ann R. Thryft   3/20/2013 1:36:48 PM
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Thanks for writing this, Cabe. It's fun to see the repair crew behind many of the crazy military robot types I've written about.

warren@fourward.com
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Re: So that's how military robots keep going
warren@fourward.com   3/20/2013 3:54:49 PM
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We could say that we install a robot and we gain a team of robot repair men.  But we lose 50 jobs that the robot replaced.  It is a tough decision.  That is 50 people that could be buying your product.

But in the case of the military, we could be saving 50 lives.

Tough call!

 

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: So that's how military robots keep going
Ann R. Thryft   3/20/2013 4:10:07 PM
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To me, those look like really different, non-intersecting scenarios. If a military IED-handling robot replaces a human job, it also saves lives. But replacing jobs in industry doesn't save any lives.

warren@fourward.com
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Re: So that's how military robots keep going
warren@fourward.com   3/20/2013 6:06:25 PM
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True, but losing your job can seem like dying.  But this isn't the point of the article.  I am thrilled that a mechanical arm dies instead of a soldier.

Cabe Atwell
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Re: So that's how military robots keep going
Cabe Atwell   3/20/2013 11:00:14 PM
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Most of these military bots are used to investigate possible explosives, or infiltrate dangerous areas.

I don't see anyone in the unemployment office talking about their IED investigation job they lost. "The dang robots. Came in, took my job."

In this case, the robot designers employed people, a new brand of the military was created, people are getting hired everywhere here.

C

mrdon
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Re: So that's how military robots keep going
mrdon   3/21/2013 2:18:19 AM
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Cabe, This article just illustrates how disruptive tech can open opportunities for future employment. With proper technical training, the field of robotics can create future jobs. Those who wish not to be retrain and complain about being unemployed have made their own bed to rest in. Great article!! 

Cabe Atwell
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Re: So that's how military robots keep going
Cabe Atwell   3/25/2013 2:43:59 PM
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MrDon,

Yes, this is one of the few occasions where bots are a welcome site in the work place.

 

In a gesture of brotherly love and DIY finesse, Ernie Fessenden built an RC truck with a built in camera to keep his bother safe in Afghanistan. His brother, Sergeant Chris Fessenden, routinely used this "Traxxis Stampede RC truck" in the battle field. The RC truck's hood mounted camera sent a video relay to an LCD that Sergeant Chris Fessenden had attached to his rifle. When an object in the road looked suspicious, the RC truck would be deployed.

During one such incident, the truck was sent out to investigate an area. During the investigation, the RC truck triggered an improvised explosive device (IED) intended to be used on Sergeant Fessenden's convoy. All soldiers were saved from the 500 pounds of explosives, but the $500 dollar RC truck was lost. Ernie Fessenden has already sent another replacement. He is a good brother.

What troubles me in this story is the fact that a home-made device is all the group of soldiers had to investigate a possible trap. I think something like this RC truck should be in every military vehicle. Are a handful of lives not worth $500? If I had Ernie Fessenden's plans for his truck, I would gladly build a few.

(Story pulled from element14)

mrdon
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Re: So that's how military robots keep going
mrdon   4/19/2013 4:53:29 PM
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Cabe, I totally agree with you 100%. A $500 investment is quite small interms of saving lives. Somewhat disappointed to hear thou.

William K.
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Re: So that's how military robots keep going
William K.   3/23/2013 4:39:24 PM
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That would be the one job to refuse, which is the one recovering unexploded ordinance. THAT is a very dangerous job, since the defects in "whatever" are unknown and in addition very unpredictable.

warren@fourward.com
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Re: So that's how military robots keep going
warren@fourward.com   3/23/2013 8:58:12 PM
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Well, William K, its a living...  :-)

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: So that's how military robots keep going
Ann R. Thryft   3/21/2013 1:02:14 PM
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Thanks, Warren, that gave me a laugh!

William K.
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Re: So that's how military robots keep going
William K.   3/23/2013 4:36:32 PM
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IT would have been a whole different scene if there had been robotic infantry back in 1967. When a robot dies, nobody cries.

mrdon
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Re: So that's how military robots keep going
mrdon   3/21/2013 2:13:14 AM
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warren@fourward.com, I agree It is a tough call but Cabe's article provides motivation and inspiration to return to school an receive training in robotics and electromechanics tech fields. I'm inspired as well as motivated because I can share the slides and video with my ITT Tech Students about jobs in the technology field of robotics and electromechanics. I'm truly pumped up about this article and video!

Jim_E
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Interesting controller
Jim_E   3/21/2013 10:40:29 AM
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I found it interesting that the one robot was controlled by what appeared to be a standard gaming controller.  Now that's one way to utilize gaming skills!

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Interesting controller
Ann R. Thryft   3/21/2013 1:10:08 PM
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Jim_E, we've written about a few robots controlled by iPads, such as the Parrot AR. Drone 2.0:
http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=238273
A surprising number of military robots are being designed using platforms based on OTS hobbyist or gamer technology.

mrdon
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Re: Interesting controller
mrdon   3/21/2013 1:58:37 PM
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Ann, It's quite interesting you mentioned gamer technology because I was quite intrigue with the solider operating the iRobot Packbot using a game controller. Also, wearable devices are quite big with the military as shown in the video with a heads-up display system embedded with the sunglasses. Cool video!

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Interesting controller
Ann R. Thryft   3/21/2013 2:03:26 PM
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mrdon, Jim_E actually brought up gamer technology, but I think it's interesting that widely available input devices like iPads, iPods, or gamer controllers are being used for a lot of military robotics. It's all basically OTS, or COTS in mil terms.

mrdon
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Re: Interesting controller
mrdon   3/21/2013 2:12:53 PM
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Ann, Oops, ok. As it relates to iPads and iPods, I recently developed an Android App for my smartphone using App-Inventor software to create a simple gesture controller for my LEGO Mindstorms NXT controller. Using portable devices like iPads, iPods, and Android smartphones integrated with gesture control software can create new technologies to be used with OTS and COTs as well.

Cabe Atwell
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Re: Interesting controller
Cabe Atwell   3/25/2013 2:44:23 PM
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Jim_E,

Gaming controllers are often used in drone/bot activity in the military. A great use of gaming skills, but way more traumatizing than any game. I wonder how detached those pilots become..

C

Jim_E
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Re: gaming controllers for military robotics
Jim_E   3/26/2013 1:23:41 PM
>Gaming controllers are often used in drone/bot activity in the military. A great use of >gaming skills, but way more traumatizing than any game. I wonder how detached >those pilots become..

As a former gamer,I almost hate to say this, but I suspect that the current ultra-realistic first person shooter (FPS) games likely end up having the players develop a sort of insensitivity towards what they are doing. 

I must be getting old, but when I read about how some of these modern day mass murders played FPS games, I can't help but think that the games might have some influence on their actions.  Obviously most of them have some sort of mental health problems, and you can't just blame the games (or the guns) but it can't be a beneficial thing for them to play FPS games.

 

Cabe Atwell
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Re: gaming controllers for military robotics
Cabe Atwell   3/27/2013 10:40:10 PM
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Jim,

You certainly have inspired me to look into the drone pilot's mental health. I would like to know more than "this many people died from drones today" type of coverage.

C

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