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The Military Robotics Technology

Marine Corps Wants a Throwable Robot 270

coondoggie writes "The US Marine Corps has a request — build and rapidly deploy more 10lb-or-under robots its personnel can throw into dangerous situations that can quickly gather information without endangering Marines. The throwable robot is part of a family of robots that would range from the 10lb version to one that would act as a central controlling device and weigh close to 300lbs. Marine commanders are demanding ever lighter robots so that troops don't have to offload critical equipment from their rucksacks to accommodate them."
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Marine Corps Wants a Throwable Robot

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  • Good idea. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dr_Ken ( 1163339 ) on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @09:15PM (#29127767) Journal
    Make explode too, eh?
  • Weeble? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by chill ( 34294 ) on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @09:15PM (#29127775) Journal

    How about a large Weeble [] with encrypted wifi, cameras and microphones pointing in each direction, including up? Toss it in, monitor it remotely via wifi.

    • by Dr_Ken ( 1163339 )
      Yeah, weebles wooble but they don't fall down. LOL. But the USMC model should explode on command.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Something like this...????

      I have never posted on here but always lurk so apologies for the AC post. I was the lead engineer for this little gadget. Here are some details:

      The system came with 2 or 4 Dragon Eggs, each on a different channel and 1 video receiver. The band was the 900MHz ISM band. The transmit power was 1W so it was not FCC compliant( so outside US or military sales only, sorry SWAT). It transmitted the 4 views( B&W, NTSC

    • don't use wifi, far too easy to jam, OFC any wireless tech can be jammed, but wifi is much more vulnerable than others!Wep is useless so disconnect packets can be injected and wpa has a disconnection on suspicious behaviour policy. A better protocol would have to be fault tolerant encryption, which is generally hard to come by, perhaps even resorting to using several antennas and wave-phase stuff to get through pure blocking

  • by Penguinshit ( 591885 ) on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @09:16PM (#29127779) Homepage Journal
    Designated "GR3N4-DE"
  • Oh great (Score:3, Funny)

    by Misanthrope ( 49269 ) on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @09:16PM (#29127781)

    Just what George Lucas needs to hear about...

  • U R Doing It Wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by IBitOBear ( 410965 ) on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @09:17PM (#29127787) Homepage Journal

    The robots should be carrying the equipment and throwing each other.

    The marines should be making the decisions and dodging the other guys robots.

    • We'd need a robot to throw a 300lb robot for us.
      • We'd need a robot to throw a 300lb robot for us.

        Or you could go medieval and build a catapult.

    • My first thought was why throw it? Why not build a Rocket Propelled Robot, or RPR. I think what they'll end up with is a swarm of autonomous robots surrounding them in all directions feeding information in.
      • by Bartab ( 233395 )

        The problem with the "RPR" would not be the acceleration but rather, the "sudden stop at the end". Making it rugged enough to be useful after that stop would likely make it more then 10lbs, meaning that more -other- equipment has to be left behind if the robot is taken.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Hurricane78 ( 562437 )

      How about a robot that throws the marines. Preferably out of your country. ^^

    • by Artifakt ( 700173 ) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @12:45AM (#29129293)

      When I read as far as the header, I thought you were going to say the robots should throw the Marines into the rooms. (And that part of the brain that still retains my old drill instructor's best routines said "makes sense"...).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @09:19PM (#29127813)

    They're about 10 pounds and very throwable.

  • ... Type One Autonomous Mobile Swords [].


  • by bobdotorg ( 598873 ) on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @09:25PM (#29127863)

    Why not just arm one of these. []

  • ...recursive no less.

    CHUCK: CHUCK Hates Urban Combatants, Kill!
  • All of this makes me think of what could be an Acme Instant Sentry. You throw a toolbox over, it rights itself, builds up a bit, and in seconds you got a limited capacity automated sentry. If there's room, just add a speaker and program it to say "Hell-looooooooo-hoooooooo? Can-you-come-over-here? There-you-are." *ratatatatatatatatatatat!*

  • Or maybe it's Modern Marvels. I've been seeing all kinds of robots over the last couple of years on these shows. I saw one that was like a little pair of wheels with a camera on the axle and what looked like a weighted antenna hanging off the back (to keep it oriented correctly). Soldiers would throw it into a room and drive it around looking for hidden bad guys or booby traps. Then, there was one that was a little track-driven thing that had a machine gun mounted on it. They were even talking about th
    • All this stuff seems to be in the development pipeline, so I'm not exactly sure what they're asking for.

      They're asking for a bidding war.

      Everyone knows that this technology exists - what the military wants is for multiple companies to create and test their own models within guidelines which are defined by the military, put them through a test/demonstration phase, and offer them a price for the contract. if they just went and bought some of the stuff you saw on Modern Marvels, they'd end up with untested ma

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @10:08PM (#29128185)

    I would prefer a *reliable* device that added *as little as possible* to the 70lbs I already carry, that "just works," even after I throw it, drop it, sit on it in sand and gets shot twice. If it still does the job, I'll buy the damn thing myself...

    unfortunately, a lot of this tech doesn't work that well, that's why k-bars and bayonets are still issued.

    Also, I agree that robots should be carrying gear so I can kick some $given_enemy butt.

    CAPTCHA: "uncouth" coincidence?

  • Not listed is an unspecified bonus if the device says "Bite my shiny metal ass" after gathering information.

  • I think you ought to know I'm feeling very depressed.
    Brain the size of a planet...
    Life... don't talk to me about life.
  • I'm all for it if it saves lives.

    Invent gun holders that can see around corners via telescope and infrared cameras and hold a pistol or rifle so it can be fired around corners.

    Then again throwing a Throwbot instead of a Grenade means less innocents are killed that way, what if you have innocents in the other room who aren't armed and are hostages or used as human shields? Throwing a grenade means the innocents die as well, throwing a Throwbot gives you another view to take sniper shots with and only kill th

    • Not killing innocents helps avert their surviving kin and friends taking offense and becoming hostiles.
      Discriminate killing is useful.

  • Metric (Score:2, Informative)

    For anyone that doesn't live in one of the three countries [] in the world that persists with imperial units, 10lbs is about 4.5kg.
    • That map is misleading. A lot of countries don't use the entire metric system (heck, even in the US all our bottles are labeled in liters as well as ounces). In El Salvador, for example, they buy gas by the gallon and weigh themselves in pounds but measure their height in centimeters. Japan and China have traditional measurements for distances (although I don't know how prevalent they are, someone else can maybe answer that), and in Taiwan they have a completely alternate year system that is still in com
  • by SoundGuyNoise ( 864550 ) on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @10:46PM (#29128435) Homepage
    All robots are throwable. The key is, you have to find the one that handles the landings better than the rest.
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @11:10PM (#29128639) Homepage

    There are already throwable robots. The iRobot PackBot is sometimes thrown through a window to get a look inside a house. The USMC would like something a bit smaller, but the concept already works.

    Previous urban tactics were to throw in a grenade or demolish houses with artillery and tanks, so there's been some progress.

  • by Amadablam ( 516748 ) on Wednesday August 19, 2009 @11:35PM (#29128793)
    (Disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with this company, but I know somebody who is. I should talk to him about a "complimentary robot for referrals" program.) [] Recon Robotics makes a product called the Scout that is designed specifically for this purpose. Each robot weighs only 1.2 pounds, is deployable and easily controllable by a single soldier, and is relatively inexpensive compared to other combat-ready robot technologies. I know I want one. ;)
  • I am nervous that the kids who grew up on Pokémon are all grown up and in the military now....

    Are they going to throw Pokéballs at opposing forces?

  • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @12:37AM (#29129235)
    It would be ideal if the robot comes in a little ball or is ball shaped and unfolds. Being able to announce it's name for identification is a bonus. Being bright yellow for visability and being able to electricute even the entire crew of a helicopter would certainly stop any team with rockets.
  • by SethJohnson ( 112166 ) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @01:16AM (#29129465) Homepage Journal
    No real joke intended here. But just an idea-- robotic snakes. The snake form factor does a lot better on rough terrain than anything based on wheels. If it is built to look like a real snake, it can also frighten enemies beyond belief. They can also be designed to be thrown up on telephone / power lines, hook on, then travel along the line while sending video back to the thrower. Power lines are a great vantage point.


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