Dragon Runner Robot Always Lands On Its Feet

Enough already about the dog-like robots; a more feline robot called Dragon Runner is undergoing classified tests in Iraq.


(From They rode in with combat bots)

The Dragon Runner was designed by Hagen Schempf of the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. It is about the same size and weight as a common household feline (okay, it's 15.5"Lx11.25Wx5"H and 16 pounds) and has been designed to always land on its feet - even if tossed through a glass window three stories up. It can do this because it has a non-active, invertible suspension system - it doesn't care whether it is upside-down or rightside-up. This tough little bot can zip along at up to twenty miles per hour; it can also use its sensors to provide real-time audio alerts and images.


(From Dragon Runner Mobile Ground Sensor)

The handheld controller for Dragon Runner features game-control-like tactile feedback; the controller vibrates when the robot's motion or audio sensors are triggered.

On a more serious note, the United States Joint Forces Command describes the mission of the Dragon Runner robot this way:

"Small, tactical units rely on their eyes and ears for force protection and reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition information. In today's battlespaces, small unit leaders increasingly enter urban or complex hostile environments and encounter life-threatening situations. The Warfighting Lab recognized that tactical units need a small, low-risk capability to conduct RSTA and enhance small unit force protection to reduce danger to Marines. A Universal Needs Statement was developed that identified the requirement for a family of RSTA sensors. Dragon Runner aims to address a number of these capability requirements."
(From Dragon runner Mobile Ground Sensor)

Dragon Runner is being developed as a "baseline concept demonstrator." You might also want to take a look at PackBot, Dragon Runner's big brother, in Roomba's Brother PackBot.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/13/2004)

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