SRI's latest bot disposes of bombs
SRI International calls it Taurus. The 15-pound robot is being developed by researcher Tom Low to remove a roadside bomb in the middle of a war zone, or a suspicious package in the city. SmartPlanet visits SRI and gets a hands-on demo of the new bot.
However where people have already been evacuated to safety, I could design a tank like unit at a fraction of the cost of this. A tank type unit could avoid the time used dismantling, and destroy a suspicious package or blast a roadside IED on site. It could also withstand the blast without taking out time for dismantling/deactivating a package which may not work and destroy an expensive delicate robot.
The DaVinci system is an excellent surgical tool. I foresee it having a large number of non surgical applications. Mining, construction, welding, space, and underseas applications would obviate placing people in harm's way.
Other Considerations for Arctic Char
Thanks for your thoughtful comment, I agree that SmartPlanet did an outstanding job on presenting the story.
>> Sumi Das: Whether it's disposing of a roadside bomb, or removing a suspicious package, military personnel and public safety officers are often faced with dangerous situations. So they're turning to robots for help on the front lines, like Taurus. This 15-pound bomb-diffusing bot is being developed by researchers at SLI International.
>> Tom Lowe: The goal here is to allow devices to be rendered safe, without putting somebody in harm's way. And I'm going to point the robot's head down.
>> Sumi Das: Tom Lowe is the lead on the prototype. He says the Taurus robot has been designed to work in challenging environments, where the operator is put at a remote distance from the robot.
>> Tom Lowe: We have a pair of input devices. So these provide essentially a way of capturing my hand movements, and provide force feedback to me as an operator.
>> Sumi Das: The operator puts on the pair of 3D glasses and gets to work.
>> Tom Lowe: The system behind me is the Taurus manipulator. This is the component that goes on the end of a fielded ground robotic arm. And essentially it's the part that provides the high dexterity. As I move my hands here at the operator control station, the remote system essentially mimics those movements precisely, and at the same time feeds back to me the three-dimensional video.
>> Sumi Das: We asked Lowe to give us a demonstration by opening up a zipper sealed bag.
>> Tom Lowe: I'm going to open this bag, and I'm just going to use my left hand here to grab ahold of that zipper, see what we got in here. Alright. Now I'm going to take my other hand here and look inside. What have we got here? I've got extreme precision. I'm able to grab little things, take them out here.
>> Sumi Das: As you can see, the robot is able to handle the opening of packages with careful precision. It's not the first time SRI has developed a robot like this. Researchers also collaborated in 1998 on da Vinci, one of the first surgical robots to go to market. And now they're building Taurus. But does it require surgeon-like skills to use it? Lowe says it doesn't.
>> Tom Lowe: These folks, typically they're able to sit down at our system, and within a matter of minutes can do things that are impossible to do with conventional technologies today. So while it doesn't take the skills of a surgeon, it just translates the manual dexterity hat you currently have, and projects it forward to a remote location.
>> Sumi Das: The plan is for the robot to attach to other existing robots in the field. And they're working to keep the cost down too. With a price of 30,000 dollars -- a reasonable cost when you consider the price tag for da Vinci is 1.8 million.
>> Tom Lowe: We recognize that public safety agencies just don't have budgets to be able to buy half a million dollar robotic systems. So this is one of the reasons why we've chosen to be an addition, an accessory if you will.
>> Sumi Das: For Smart Planet, I'm Sumi Das.