Robots helping the troops

January 30, 2008 5:39:24 PM PST
New robots are headed to the warzones in Iraq and Afghanistan and will serve an important purpose.Robots such as the Talon robot, armed with the Head Aimed Remote Viewer System, is equipped to detect and disarm roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"We can actually see around the robot without actually being there," S.F.C. Jason Mero of the U.S. Army said.

Chatten Associates, a West Conshohocken tech company, will produce these robots for the US military.

Army Sergeant Jason Mero will use the device when he returns to Afghanistan.

Instead of a joystick, Mero simply turns his head to move the device's four cameras, and have a look around.

It is a lot like those virtual reality games at the arcade.

A laser pointer can direct soldiers to targets, and it can see in complete darkness. Mostly, though, what the robot does is too dangerous for humans.

"It's a $150,000 robot instead of a human life, so it's a lot cheaper," S.F.C. Mero said.

The Head Aimed Remote Viewer is actually a 50 year old concept. The person who came up with the concept, started Chatten Associates. Five years ago, he decided that technology had caught up to his idea. He then decided to go into production.

"Technology as far as the components are concerned has made it vastly easier to make and more convenient than we possibly could have done it in the 50s or the 60s," John Chatten said.

The Head Aimed Remoter Viewer camera system is relatively easy to Use and given that it is to be used around explosive devices, many of its components can withstand a bomb blast.

Most humans cannot.