Throwbot - Pocket-Sized Recon Robot

Redstone Arsenal is developing the Throwbot, a soda can-sized robot to aid soldiers in quickly gathering more information about their immediate environment. The robot has a transmitter and camera; it has a range of about 100 feet.


(Throwbot in hand)

"It weighs very little, but probably the most important aspect of this small (robot) is speed," said U.S. Marine Corps Col. Terry Griffin, program manager at the Robotics Systems Joint Project Office. "Other robots we have in the field now take a long time to set up and put into an area, and all the time our troops are exposed to enemy attack.

"With the 'throwbot,' a soldier takes it out and throws it in somewhere to check out an area. They don't have to sit around for long."
(From Military Considers Throwbot)

To provide an example of how a Throwbot might be used in the field, Colonel Griffin tossed a throwbot to the upstairs landing of a training facility, then used its videogame-like interface to maneuver it around the area until it spotted a possible assailant crouched against a wall.

"Is that good information to have before you go in there, or what?" asks Colonel Griffin.

The Throwbot class goes back a number of years; DARPA has been studying different structures and examples of robots that are capable of being thrown into service by the human operator. For example, the Small Unit Robot (developed in 2000) from the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory has a 16 centimeter diameter.


(From SuBot Robot - pdf)

It has 2-wheel skid steering with a tail stabilizer; it houses a video camera, RF receiver and video transmitter with a range of thirty meters.

An even smaller robot called a Scout can be used as a remote sensor; it could even be positioned initially with a grenade launcher. The Scout vehicles are cylindrical, 40mm in diameter and 110mm long. They can roll up 20-degree slopes, and hop over 4” obstacles (by winding and releasing a leaf-spring tail). The Scout sensor suite may include a video camera (fixed or mounted on a retractable pan-and-tilt unit), microphone, vibration sensor, gas sensor, and other sensors.


(From Scout Robot - pdf)

Soldiers in the field will begin testing the $6,000 prototypes in the next few months; production could begin within a year.

For science-fictional references, as well as more stories about other robots in the field, see COTS Scout: Team Building Robot, Roomba's Brother PackBot and Dragon Runner Robot Always Lands On Its Feet.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 1/26/2005)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 4 )

Related News Stories - (" Robotics ")

Robotic Exoskeleton Releases Man From Wheelchair
'This man was standing on two corrugated-soled titanium footplates...'- Fritz Leiber, 1968.

Oh, Just Let Robots Run Airports
I'd like a friendly robot to help me at airports. Especially the bag-carrying part.

Why, Oh Why, Must We Develop Robots That Run Faster Than I Do?
'The legs are long, curled way up to deliver power, like a cheetah's.'- Neal Stephenson, 1992.

Golf Robot Putts Out
'The robot solemnly hit a ball against the wall, picked it up and teed it, hit it again, over and again...' - Frederik Pohl, 1954.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Hackers Can Take Control Of Cars From Anywhere In The World
'The car faltered as the external command came to brake...'

Armed Drone Opens Fire
'Each a television eye and a sonic stunner...'

Robotic Exoskeleton Releases Man From Wheelchair
'This man was standing on two corrugated-soled titanium footplates...'

Oh, Just Let Robots Run Airports
I'd like a friendly robot to help me at airports.

How Smart Should AI's Be Allowed To Get?
'Every AI ever built has an electromagnetic shotgun wired to its forehead'

NASA Misses $5Trillion Funding Boost
'This must be a golden planet—this little asteroid.'

Kuwait Creates Mandatory DNA Database For Citizens
And who has the largest DNA database on its citizens?

Please, Please Let There Be Regenerated Teeth
'Toothbud transplants...'

Google AI 'Deep Dreams' Kubrick's 2001
'I was only trying to do what I thought best....'

The BLITAB: First Tactile Tablet for Blind People
Absolutely amazing development - now blind people can read the web!

Why, Oh Why, Must We Develop Robots That Run Faster Than I Do?
'The legs are long, curled way up to deliver power, like a cheetah's.'

Golf Robot Putts Out
'The robot solemnly hit a ball against the wall, picked it up and teed it, hit it again, over and again...'

Computer Finds Cancer Doctors Miss
The computer will see you now.

Would Robot Taxis Ease Carbon Emissions?
'He emerged and flagged down a robot taxi...'

Brainwaves As Biometric Identification
'The doors of Mr. Lars, Incorporated, shut, tuned as they were to his own cephalic pattern.'

What-If Machine Concocts Creative Premises
'Books were just a commodity that had to be produced, like jam or bootlaces.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.