Local robot will help track bombs for soldiers

January 31, 2008 4:47:09 AM PST
This is the Talon robot, armed with the Head Aimed Remote Viewing System. It was pretty good at picking up an Action News microphone.It may be even better at detecting and disarming roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Chatten Associates, a West Conshohocken tech company, will produce these robots for the U.S. military. Army Sergeant First Class 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. But mostly, the robot does what is too dangerous for humans.

The concept was developed by John Chatten 50 years ago. When the techonology made it more feasible, only five years ago, he decided to begin production. Chatten Associates, and the HARV, were born.

The Human Aimed Remoter Viewing camera system is relatively easy to use - even for a non-military user (that's me!). And given that it is to be used around explosive devices, many of its components can withstand a bomb blast.

Most humans cannot.

Click here to visit the company's website.