In Battle, Robots Are a Soldier’s Best Friend

Staff Sgt. James Craven (background) and Sgt. Domonic Amaral run tests on two Talon 3Bs at a base in Tikrit, Iraq. The Talon 3B is one of several robots used by explosive ordnance disposal units in search of improvised explosive devices.The most effective way to find and destroy a land mine is to step on it.

This has bad results, of course, if you’re a human. But not so much if you’re a robot and have as many legs as a centipede sticking out from your body.

That’s why Mark Tilden, a robotics physicist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, built something like that. At the Yuma Test Grounds in Arizona, the autonomous robot, 5 feet long and modeled on a stick-insect, strutted out for a live-fire test and worked beautifully, he says.

Every time it found a mine, blew it up and lost a limb, it picked itself up and readjusted to move forward on its remaining legs, continuing to clear a path through the minefield.

This article is a great read.  Here’s another interesting quote toward the end:

Joseph W. Dyer, the retired three-star admiral who heads iRobot’s government and industrial division, says, “The androids in the movie ‘I, Robot,’ who are projected to exist in 2030? We think that timeline is about right.”

Source:  Washington Post

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