Wednesday, October 20, 2010

iRobot Playing Key Role Developing Advanced Robotic Arm for DARPA

DARPA's reference robot
IEEE Spectrum has a well-done, in-depth report on DARPA's advanced robotic manipulator arm project at this link. The project includes various teams competing to provide the best hardware and software on the project, but iRobot Corporation (NASDAQ:IRBT) is the only private company competing, and one of just two teams competing in both hardware and software categories. DARPA is providing funding, including delivering expensive robots to each of the teams to work on and compete with.

The article and interview with the DARPA manager also is fascinating for its talk of the importance of bringing down the cost of robotic manipulation and dealing with the vastly more complicated tasks like picking up pieces of paper or handling wires on an IED. The idea is to get the robot to constantly correct for errors based on visual and other cues the way a human does. This could obviously have major benefits for a variety of robotic uses both military and civilian, so we'll keep an eye on it.

No comments: