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 ")

Somnox Sleep Robot - Your Sleepytime Cuddlebot
Science fiction authors are serious about sleep, too.

VirtualHome: Teaching Robots To Do Chores Around The House
'Just what did I want Flexible Frank to do? - any work a human being does around a house.' Robert Heinlein, 1956.

Artificial Sensory Neurons For Prosthetics, Robots
Great for humans and robots!

Swarm Of Mindless Robots Works Together
'Very tiny pseudo insects that... can unite to form a superordinate system.' - Stanislaw Lem, 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

Elon Musk Seeks To Create 1941 Heinlein Speedster
'The car surged and lifted, clearing its top by a negligible margin.'

Somnox Sleep Robot - Your Sleepytime Cuddlebot
Science fiction authors are serious about sleep, too.

Real-Life Macau or Ghost In The Shell
Art imitates life imitates art.

Has Climate Change Already Been Solved By Aliens?
'I had explained," said Nessus, "that our civilisation was dying in its own waste heat.'

First 3D Printed Human Corneas From Stem Cells
Just what we need! Lots of spare parts.

VirtualHome: Teaching Robots To Do Chores Around The House
'Just what did I want Flexible Frank to do? - any work a human being does around a house.'

Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI) Workshop
SF writers have thought about this since the 19th century.

Nanorobots Roam Your Bloodstream, Cleaning It
Too bad they won't have lasers, though...

Galini 3D Printed Sleeping Pod Tiny Houses
'The houses are prefabricated units...'

MIT Boffins Create Psychopath AI On Purpose
There's a lesson in this for neural net AI engineers everywhere.

Skin Electronics 3D Printed
'June's body is a tracery of lambent lines, like some arcane capillary circuitry...'

Artificial Sensory Neurons For Prosthetics, Robots
Great for humans and robots!

China Uses Artificial Intelligence To Grade Student Papers
Looks like the City Fathers are starting to take over China's education system.

Electronic Tongues Will Rule The Kitchen
'Install taste buds in the end of one tentacle...'

Self-Healing Circuits From Carnegie Mellon
'It even had an inter-skin layer of gum that could seal the punctures...'

Swarm Of Mindless Robots Works Together
'Very tiny pseudo insects that... can unite to form a superordinate system.'

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.