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 ")

MIT's Robotic Cheetah Runs Free - And Frolics In The Grass
THEY sent A SLAMHOUND on Turner's trail- William Gibson, 1986.

Flying Robot Has An Arm
Drones with arms. Well, one arm.

T-Mobile Sues Huawei Over Button Pushing Robot Idea From The 1930's
'Not the slightest change in their working betrayed the fact that they were now being directed by a machine instead of human beings.'- Schachner and Zagat, 1931.

Dyson 360 Eye Robot Vacuum Cleaner
'It vacuum-cleaned... or polished, consulting tapes in its idiot memory to decide which.'- Robert Heinlein, 1956.

 

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

'Hello, Computer!' Intel's Core M Catches Up To Scotty
'Well, isn't that quaint!'

Visual Speech Recognition - When Will HAL Read Lips For Real?
Automating lip reading.

MIT's Robotic Cheetah Runs Free - And Frolics In The Grass
'THEY sent A SLAMHOUND on Turner's trail...'

Flying Robot Has An Arm
Drones with arms.

Strati 3D Printed Car
'You rode in it - you know how good it is.'

Tracking Spinning Space Junk
'Loose nuts and bolts... had been accumulating in Earth orbit'

Baidu Kuaisou Dune Poison Snooper Chopsticks
'Unobtrusive inspections with... snoopers... Will it be chaumas - poison in the food?'

Crystalized Light Created At Princeton
'It will be matter, matter made of light...'

The Amazing Gravity-Assisted Journey Of Rosetta
'...We used the [moon's] attraction to give us additional starting speed'

AirDog Auto-Follow Drone Captures Your Awesomeness
'Tight mid-shot and pull out on but behind me...'

Dell's Venue 8 7000 Tablet With RealSense Depth-Mapping
Focus on any part of a picture later.

Google's Cartographer Backpack For Indoor Mapping
'He reached to unsnap the cartograph from his belt.'

T-Mobile Sues Huawei Over Button Pushing Robot Idea From The 1930's
'Not the slightest change in their working betrayed the fact that they were now being directed by a machine instead of human beings.'

Hayabusa-2 Asteroid Cannon Strategy From 1950's SF Novel
'Fire streaked in a thin line from the muzzle of a cannon-like tube...'

Dyson 360 Eye Robot Vacuum Cleaner
'It vacuum-cleaned... or polished, consulting tapes in its idiot memory to decide which.'

First 3D Printer In Space?
'It can be mass-produced only in the orbiting factories...'

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.