There are unsung heroes out there who have saved countless lives. Like a true superhero, their only response to those saved is a simple "I'm only doing my job."
They are the men and women of the Joint Robotics Repair Detachment (JRRD), and they keep the US military's robot armada up and running. These bots are almost exclusively tasked with handling IEDs, improvised explosive devices, and other traps and explosives.
The JRRD handles robots ranging from the single digit pound range to several tons. Repairs are not always for the IED-damaged robots. Normal wear-and-tear finds that the bots need replacement treads or wheels, cameras, motors, and faulty electronics. More extreme cases have the repair technicians replacing major portions of the bots, such as arms and other mutilated components.
>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.
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.
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.
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.
The fun factor continues to draw developers to Linux. This open-source system continues to succeed in the market and in the hearts and minds of developers. Design News will delve into this territory with next week's Continuing Education Class titled, “Introduction to Linux Device Drivers.”
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.