Thursday, March 15, 2007

Perspective: Robots going in harm's way

The war in Iraq has proven the lethal effectiveness of roadside bombs.

But the war has also proven the value of a new tool to deal with the bombs: small, agile robots that disarm or detonate the bombs at the direction of soldiers who operate the robots from a safe distance.

The Talon, by Foster-Miller Inc. of Waltham, has emerged as one of stars of this new class of robots, which have begun to encourage new thinking about military applications for robots.

"The old generation was big, slow, lumbering behemoths, and they were usually operated on a tether to relay commands," said Robert Quinn, Foster-Miller's vice president of Talon operations. There was also a perception that robots took jobs away from humans. Now, robots are seen as expendable helpers that protect human life.

Read the rest at the Boston Globe