IAI’s military robot acts like barber in charity role

Mar 25, 2012 by Nancy Owano report

(PhysOrg.com) -- In robotics, three hands are better than one, in the form of a device that has been developed by Intelligent Automation Inc (IAI) for use as troop support. The Multi-Arm Unmanned Ground Vehicle (MA-UGV) is the name of this device from the Rockville, Maryland, R&D company that focuses on AI applications. The three-armed robot can protect troops by lending its handling skills to carry out backback inspections for explosive devices, for example, and, to use the military term, "disarm" Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

IAI has produced a set of impressive videos that show how the robot, whether cutting wires or tying knots, or extending its mechanical joints for better reach and precision, has capabilities to perform tasks requiring complex manipulation under military-type scenarios.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

Fingertip positioning and grasp are especially impressive as shown inn the videos; the robot is capable of using a 29 degree of freedom system and the robot is shown deftly handling IEDs. It has three cameras, with pictures beamed back to a computer. The integrated video feeds from the cameras on the end of each arm are designed for better situational awareness, including depth perception.

The MA-UGV was developed with support from the U.S. Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC).

A focus by the U.S. Army on ground vehicle technology solutions to safeguard the lives of troops comes as no surprise and has kept robotics teams busy, considering the heavy toll of fatal in Afghanistan and Iraq. Last year, the Harris Corp. in Melbourne Florida, made news with its robotic arm using haptic technology, to enable soldiers to disarm IEDS. Paul Bosscher, a robotics engineer at Harris, described the impressive features of its device to ABC News at the time."The robot can cut wires, pull blasting caps, surgically defeat the explosive device and in the process save all of this forensic evidence that they use to ID who the bombmakers are what their bomb-making methods are," Bosscher said. The device was shown last August at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International convention in Washington DC.

All such devices are considered a step up from endangering a human in a bomb suit who is asked to cut wires off an explosive device. With all the novel techniques and designs in robotics for troop and mission support, however, IAI’s three-armed robot has been the most successful in generating entertainment and in turn recognition. The MA-UGV was given the role of barber in this year’s charity event to raise funds for cancer research. The MA-UGV video of the robot cutting the hair of a volunteer has drawn many compliments among viewers, not so much for the genius of the but rather for the courage of the man who agreed to sit in the chair.

Explore further: Q&A: Drones might help explain how tornadoes form

More information:
via IEEE

Related Stories

Robotic technology lowers military risks

Jun 07, 2006

With suicide bombing and improvised explosive devices escalating violence in Iraq, engineers are working to advance robotic technology to counter these deadly military problems.

US Army purchases robotic scouts (w/ video)

Oct 10, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- By being the first to scout out an unknown building or peek over a wall, a small dumbbell-shaped robot will be taking over some of the riskiest tasks in the US Army. The robot’s maker, ...

Robotics: Taking soldiers out of harm's way

Jun 01, 2006

Over the past three years, thousands of American soldiers in Iraq have been horribly injured or killed by improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The explosives, placed near or buried under roadways and often ...

Recommended for you

Q&A: Drones might help explain how tornadoes form

Dec 18, 2014

Researchers say they have collected promising weather data by flying instrument-laden drones into big Western and Midwestern storms. Now, they want to expand the project in hopes of learning more about how ...

First steps for Hector the robot stick insect

Dec 16, 2014

A research team at Bielefeld University has succeeded in teaching the only robot of its kind in the world how to walk. Its first steps have been recorded in a video. The robot is called Hector, and its construction ...

Getting bot responders into shape

Dec 16, 2014

Sandia National Laboratories is tackling one of the biggest barriers to the use of robots in emergency response: energy efficiency.

Robot 'shadow hand'

Dec 12, 2014

Picking up an apple is one of those jobs requiring the delicate touch of the human hand – or its robotic counterpart.

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Telekinetic
3 / 5 (8) Mar 25, 2012
After watching this mechanical butcher, I'm going to give my human barber a bigger tip.
Callippo
1 / 5 (1) Mar 25, 2012
Don't croak. It's true, the variable shape of face would make a trouble for robot, but I do perceive it as a problem of first shaving only.
jscroft
3.7 / 5 (3) Mar 25, 2012
This thing is remote controlled. Some of the clumsiness may be due to the inexperience of the controller.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.