Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

A View from Kristina Grifantini

Military Robots to Get a Virtual Touch

A modified game controller will give military bomb-disposal experts remote touch.

  • October 6, 2009

iRobot, the company that makes military robots as well as the Roomba vacuuming bot, announced last Friday that it will receive funding for several endeavors from the Robotics Technology Consortium (RTC).

One project will see the company develop controllers that give remote robot operators sensory feedback. The US military currently uses iRobot’s wheeled PackBot in Iraq and Afghanistan for tasks such as bomb disposal, detecting hazardous materials and carrying equipment.

The company says that adding force sensing to a PackBot arm could give operators the ability to “feel” the weight of an object or whether it is hard or soft, via the robot’s arms.

iRobot plans to use an enhanced version of the Novint Falcon haptic controller–a device designed for computer games that provides a remote sense of touch to the user.

According to the president of iRobot’s Government and Industrial Robots division Joe Dyer:

“[This] would greatly improve warfighters’ ability to examine and manipulate improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and reduce their time on task, ultimately keeping them safer,”

The RTC funds will also go toward developing better sniper detection and a sensing robotic head for the UGVs.

Hear more about robotics at EmTech MIT 2017.

Register now

Uh oh–you've read all of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium
$179.95/yr US PRICE

More from Intelligent Machines

Artificial intelligence and robots are transforming how we work and live.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Basic.
  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning print magazine, unlimited online access plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Bimonthly print magazine (6 issues per year)

/
You've read all of your free articles this month. This is your last free article this month. You've read of free articles this month. or  for unlimited online access.