The tiny Black Hornet is a microcopter UAV designed by Prox Dynamics, a Norwegian company. This microcopter is deployed by hand and controlled with a joystick, while viewing the action on a tablet. The Black Hornet can fly for up to 25 minutes and is almost completely silent.
Black Hornet is currently being deployed with the British troops in Afghanistan where it is said to make a big difference. It streams live video and can capture snapshots. Weighing only 16 grams this seems like a great addition to a troops arsenal without adding much extra weight.
Click through for a video from a couple of years ago of an earlier test model.
CyPhy Works, headed by Helen Greiner formerly of iRobot, has unveiled what it has been working on.
The first robot is named EASE for Extreme Access System for Entry. The second is called PARC for Persistent Aerial Reconnaissance and Communications.
The common thread between both robots is a microfilament cable. This thread is unspooled from the robot and provides power as well as communications. The idea here is not to worry about battery life and to provide unajmmable communications as no radio is used.
The robots provide high definition video as well as having an optional thermal imaging camera.
The composite image on the right is made up of 2 images from CyPhy works with PARC on top and EASE on the bottom.
PARC could search the grounds outside a building and on the rooftop while EASE seems ideal for searching inside the building for suspects. Most robots aiming for investigating buildings are wheeled and may run into obstacles, unlike PARC and EASE as they can fly through windows and up stairwells.
Researchers working for DARPA have created a soft robot that can walk and change colors.
The work is performed under DARPA’s Maximum Mobility and Manipulation or M3 program headed up by Gill Pratt.
This silicone robot that costs under $100 can even change it’s own temperature.
Gill Pratt states:
DARPA is developing a suite of robots that draw inspiration from the ingenuity and efficiency of nature. For defense applications, ingenuity and efficiency are not enough—robotic systems must also be cost effective. This novel robot is a significant advance towards achieving all three goals.
As you can see in the video below, the robot can blend into its surroundings by acting like a chameleon and changing it’s color.
From Boston Dynamics comes another amazing robot with the ability to jump up on roofs. This 11 pound robot is driven like an RC car and can jump up to 30 feet high. The US Army’s Rapid Equipping Force is funding this project.
iRobot unveiled their newest military robot this week. It is also their first throwable robot.
The robot called FirstLook is a tread based robot with flippers to help it up stairs or over obstacles. FirstLook can also right itself if it lands upside down after being thrown. It can be dropped onto concrete from up to 15 feet without any damage and can also take being submerged in water.
The robot weighs less than five pounds and is 10 inches long by 9 inches wide.
It can run for 6 hours while moving or up to 10 hours if stationary. The robot is also capable of creating a mesh network and each robot can be used as a network extender to relay
FirstLook also comes with a large screen an control panel that can be strapped to your wrist.