March 31, 2011

Robot Assistance Sent From US to Japan


Dr. Peter Lyons, acting assistant secretary for nuclear energy with the DOE, told a Senate panel Tuesday that the US is sending some radiation-hardened robots to Japan to assist inside their at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plants. The bots can measure radiation and send images with cameras to their operators. Also being sent are trainers to instruct the workers in their operation.

iRobot informed us that they sent four robots (2 iRobot 510 PackBots and 2 iRobot 710 Warriors) to Japan early last week and they arrived about March 22. Six iRobot employees also made the trip to train Japanese authorities on how to use the robots. They had no information about specific projects, though.

Public Relations Specialist Charlie Vaida told Robot Snob, "Both the PackBot and Warrior give the operator situational awareness in dangerous environments. They are outfitted with a variety of cameras and sensors, and any information it captures is relayed back to the operator who can remain at a safe standoff distance."

This also makes us wonder if Japan actually employed its own Monirobo as we reported earlier, as it seems a lot of the information coming out of the country regarding the state of its plants seems to be erroneous.

How sad that a country that is tops in robotics seems to be lacking in that area and instead concentrates on consumer usage, like those that are hyped on the site of JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization.)

Stay tuned. We also contacted JETRO but have received no response as yet.

(Thanks, Charlie)

Via Guardian

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March 10, 2011

Navy Wants Robot Swarms


If the US Navy has its way, swarms of semi-autonomous robots will build objects in the field. Each robot will have a specific task, such as picking and placing, joining components or removing trash. Collectively, they will cooperate with each other to create a finished product. Phase One of the project requires about $60,000, more than enough to get the first aggregate to secretly plot the eventual demise of humans.

Via Digital Trends

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February 23, 2011

NAV Drone Emulates Hummingbird


DARPA's latest funding has gone to a hummingbird drone, a tiny spybot that can fly forward, backwards and sideways, and rotate both clockwise and counterclockwise. And like its real counterpart, with a wingspan of 6.5" and a weight of only 19 grams, the Nano Air Vehicle can hover and spend up to 8 minutes in the air. Built by AeroVironment, it may be awhile before the NAV appears on a battleground near you.

Via Fox News

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February 10, 2011

DARPA Seeks Interpretive Robot


DARPA has a new project in the works. They are developing an autonomous robot that would assist troops in danger. While there are bots like the Dragon Runner already in place, they have yet to create one with visual intelligence, the ability to interpret what it sees. That way, it could tell the difference between a farmer planting crops and a terrorist planting bombs. Twelve research teams from universities and tech schools are working on the problem, but it may be a while before they have their answer.

Via Marine Corp Times

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February 8, 2011

Cougar20-H Knows When You Breathe


TiaLinx's Cougar20-H is a remote controlled surveillance bot that can scan through concrete walls with an ultra-wideband RF sensor array in its arm. This is not your typical securitybot as he can find a human by biorhythmic patterns. In other words, if you breathe, you are caught. Cougar moves along on tracks and uses its two cameras to find and send back information as far as 300 feet away, whether the person is moving or standing still. It seems the demand has already reached the supply as the DOD, Homeland Security and several law enforcement agencies will be using them soon.

Via TiaLinx

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January 7, 2011

Gorgon Stare Targets the Enemy Bigtime


An airborne camera array has made it possible for soldiers on the ground to see live images when searching for enemy movement. The $17 million Gorgon Stare consists of nine cameras that can send up to 65 different shots to separate users. It has the capability seeing an entire city of up to 4 km, but the military admits that it is only as good as the human intelligence who are using it.

Via Washington Post

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December 7, 2010

Wikileaks Claims UAE Seek to Procure Drone


According to some of those WikiLeaks documents, countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Turkey are trying to get their hands on the Predator B, aka the MQ-9 Reaper. Apparently the UAE met with Air Force officials to try to procure one in 2007. Fortunately for us all the drones are on restricted export.

Via Wired

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AF X-37B Drone Has Successful Flight


The Air Force's X-37B landed successfully last week at Vandenberg AF Base in California after its 7 month test run. The plane is about 29 ft. long, has a wingspan of 14 ft. and was built by Boeing's Phantom Works. Because the project is top secret, not many details were available concerning the unmanned vehicle's flight, but the results have apparently prompted the AF to order a second Orbital Test Vehicle that will be launched in the spring of 2011.

Via Space

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November 23, 2010

Robot Searches for Trapped NZ Miners


A robot has been sent into the New Zealand coal mine where 29 men are still trapped. NZ Police superintendent Gary Knowles says that the Remote Positioning Device Wheelbarrow Revolution, normally used for the Army's bomb squad, is equipped with sensors to test for gas and cameras to report back via fiber-optic cable. A 150m tunnel being built there is about 2/3 complete.


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November 4, 2010

Drone Images Shown on Smartphone With JTRS


The US Army is working on a plan to send surveillance video images from drones to smartphones. The Joint Tactical Radio System, targeted for launch in 2014, is said to be compatible with commercially available phones and is meant to cut the cost of operation. Tim Owings, deputy program manager for the Army's drone system, says that developing new encryption for the JTRS would allow "pretty darn secure" transmission of data in a very limited area. Let's hope it gets past that stage by the time the system is in place.


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