The blockbuster movie I, Robot starring Will Smith highlighted the idea of a helpful robot in every home that was able to do almost anything to aid its owner. But this is not a fictional concept. iRobot is a very real company with just this goal in mind. I want to share with you one of the latest of iRobot's military efforts, the DARPA LANdroids program.
On March 3, 2008 in Burlington Massachusetts, iRobot announced that it had won the financial backing from an award through DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) which is a central organization under the Department of Defense. Now, iRobot will be working to build portable communications robots that are intelligent yet inexpensive.
The LANdroids program is designed to construct technology that will allow military operatives and warfighters that are working in intense locations to position and preserve important lines of communication. The LANdroids robots are that infrastructure. They will be the foundation of critical operations anywhere that a constant relay of information is needed.
Co-founder and chairman of iRobot Helen Greiner explains a little more about the LANdroids Program. "More than 1,300 of iRobot's field-tested and combat-proven PackBot robots have been deployed in theater delivering mission-critical support to warfighters around the globe. Research and development awards such as the DARPA LANdroids program enable us to continue driving innovation towards the next-generation of revolutionary mobile, tactical combat robots that deliver advanced situational awareness and help keep warfighters out of harm's way."
The main focus on the LANdroids, besides their obvious capabilities, will be on the size and the durability. For instance they will be very small and light weight so that one person can carry as many as needed. They will also be designed to be sturdy and resilient for instances where they will need to be dropped or tossed into position.
As you can see this is a wonderful way to use technology to keep our troops out of harm's way. iRobot is definitely gaining in popularity with each one of the revolutionary products they create. This has been a busy year for this company so keep your eye out for lots of new innovative robots.