The company Segway doesn't just make two-wheeled, self-balancing vehicles that made them famous. They are also developing a series of Robotic Mobility Platforms (RMPs). ARTI, short for articulate, is the newest. It gets its name from its innovative two degree-of-freedom joint, which allows for all four wheels to be on the ground at the same time while on uneven terrain. This allows for unbeatable control and terrain handling in unexplored environments. One advantage ARTI has over other pack-carrying robots like the dog-like LS3 is how quiet it is. While LS3 was a major improvement its predecessor Big Dog, roaring hydraulic engines don't make for the quietest of robots. ARTI instead uses six electric motors to move and stay quiet. So, the battle between wheels and legs rages on. Despite being electric, ARTI is still powerful, as you will see in the video as it runs over harsh terrain, climbs relatively steep inclines, and mows down obstructing brush and plants. ARTI is a versatile robot and joins the ranks of pack-carrying robots.
Aibo looks like the runt of the litter next to the newest and mightiest of dog robots: LS3 (Legged Squad Support System)!!! This robot was built by Boston Dynamics, and like its predecessors it was built to carry packs and heavy equipment across the battlefield. Unlike its predecessor Big Dog, LS3 is quiet. Still far from stealth but a great improvement from the super-loud Big Dog. Each LS3 can carry 400 pounds of gear and enough fuel to last it 24 hours and to cover a distance of 20 miles! The LS3 is equipped with many sensors and can use them to follow behind a soldier or use GPS to go to an established point. The development of LS3 was funded by DARPA and the U.S. Marine Corps. Enjoy this video of the awesome LS3:
[Image Credit: Boston Dynamics]
[Video Credit: Boston Dynamics via YouTube]
The 110 FirstLook is a small throwable robot great for clearing buildings and reconnaissance in hostile areas. This little robot is absolutely rugged; it can withstand a 15 foot fall onto concrete and will survive in 3 feet of water. It can tackle an obstacle 8 inches tall and climb stairs. It is 10 inches long, 9 inches wide and 4 inches tall, and only weighs 5 pounds. It is very small, light and portable. Here’s a link to iRobot and a video: http://www.irobot.com/gi/ground/110_FirstLook/
The 510 Packbot is yet another military robot from iRobot. It can locate traces of explosive objects, identify explosives, and disarm bombs. It can break into cars and operate in crime scenes, helping police as well as the armed forces. Traveling at 5.8 miles per hour, it is fast and is easily deployed and operated with a controller like one for a video-game. The Packbot can be equipped with an arm, a laser and a bright light. The Packbot is a great multi-purpose robot. Over 3,500 are already in use by military and civil defenses across the globe. Watch this neat video:
The 210 Negotiator is a small simple robot that goes inside buildings ahead of the police to give them a safe look and provide situational awareness. It is used by first responders to keep the public safe. The 210 Negotiator is 25 inches long, 21 inches wide (with flippers) and 7.6 inches tall without a payload. It is a little slower than some robots, going only 3.1 miles per hour, but it's maneuverable and easily climbs stairs. Watch the Negotiator in action:
The 310 SUGV (Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle) is portable, weighing 29 pounds without payloads. It will fit into a standard MOLLE pack. It is compact, measuring only 17.2 inches wide (with flippers) and 30 inches long (when flippers are extended). It can travel at speeds up to 6.2 miles per hour and climb 8 inch stairs. Because the 310 SUGV is controlled with a familiar game-style remote, soldiers will not have to train long to learn to control it. The 310 SUGV can operate 3280 feet (1000 meters) away from the controller.
The 710 Warrior is a large robot capable of many tasks. Its arm can lift up to 220 pounds. It can be extremely precise and pick up a bomb or other explosive without triggering the explosion. It can climb stairs, cross small gaps and pick up objects out of the ground if they aren’t buried entirely. It is controlled from a computer and can perform in hostile areas. Here are a couple of sweet videos.
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