Log in   •   Sign up   •   Subscribe  feed icon

Little Robot With Big Guns Could Replace Human Soldiers

Robots may soon replace our soldiers.

25-year-old Adam Gettings, a self-taught engineer, has recently created Robotex AH - a two-foot tall, 10-mph-traveling machine that can blow a 10-inch hole through a steel door from a quarter mile away. It's also remote-controlled over an encrypted frequency that jams nearby radios and cell phones.

GettingsGettings

It took Gettings just six months to create Robotex, with assistance from shotgun maker Jerry Baber and ex-Disney imagineer Terry Izumi.

Izumi created this video of Robotex for Fortune Magazine. The robot can do some impressive tricks, including climbing stairs with its four wheels, rolling through a foot of water, and smoothly gliding over rocky terrain - while simultaneously firing its machine guns at specific targets, at 300 rounds per minute.

At a cost as low as $30,000 per robot, and with funding not from the government but from angel investors, the project is truly independent. Izumi, Gettings and Baber's unique skills and mentality for quick results lead to Robotex and a new company of the same name.

Now the inventors are facing perhaps a bigger challenge: trying to sell the robot to the government. Baber plans to get several robots on display in military company Blackwater's lobby, and hope they cause a stir and the public stands up for the technology.

"If moms and dads around the country find out this system is available while their sons are off sopping up bullets in Iraq, they're going to tear the White House down," he says. "This will take the soldiers out of harm's way."

Source: Fortune

Lisa Zyga
Science Blogger
InventorSpot.com

Comments
Dec 7, 2007
by Mike B (not verified)

What an interesting animation you linked to!

If the video was real, I'd be impressed.
It isn't, and the prototype shown above bears only a superficial resemblance to the one in the video.

I'm sure there are many people out there who could create a very impressive animation of some futuristic technology and mount some model firearms on what is essentially a radio controlled toy car.
Actually building one that performs effectively in the real world would be a bit harder.

Dec 9, 2007
by Lisa Zyga

animation

True, the video doesn't prove anything. I guess real verification would be having the robot being used for the actual application...which may be a while.

Dec 9, 2007
by Anonymous (not verified)

its a mistake

I don't think its a good idea. War is not about blowing up other people's stuff.

Its about resolving human conflicts, taking people out of the war makes war more attractive and make more likely it will happen again or worse it could end up making people want control other people rather easily. Its bad idea.

Dec 10, 2007
by GeoD (not verified)

Premise on Iraq entirely wrong

If you read people like Michael Totten and Michael Yon, one of the primary reasons we're currently having so much success in Iraq is because our soldiers are working and living with the local populations developing positive rapport and showing the Iraqis we're there to help, not oppress like AQI. Replacing our human soldiers with remote controlled robotic guns would thus be a huge negative. It may be a helpful asset for any future house clearing opperations, especially if it's portable enough to be carried by a soldier as the picture implies.

Dec 10, 2007
by Anonymous (not verified)

the responses I see here are

the responses I see here are symptomatic of our conditioning to assume a "slippery slope" type effect when it comes to robotic and autonomous weapons systems... the idea being that they are somehow going to supplant the armed soldier and make war even more falsely sterilized than it already has become. this is a remote controlled robot, which can no more make a decision about firing a weapon as your PC or Mac does. the anonymous poster who worried about "humans being taken out of war" have misread and misinterpreted what this robot is.

it is not taking humans out of war at all. a soldier still controls the robot's every move, and--most critically--it is a human soldier who presses the fire switch.

I agree with the author, this is a good step in the direction of taking american citizens out of harms way. Why send a human to do a job that can be more safely accomplished vicariously through an armed robot?

Dec 11, 2007
by Anonymous (not verified)

The video is not real you

The video is not real you Moron.

Feb 1, 2008
by Anonymous (not verified)

nice, although most "ieds"

are now controlled by an interupted signal, which is what they say this device t does! way to
go nerds

Feb 18, 2008
by S.Vigneshwaran (not verified)

Computer Science

I want to create more robots in the world. I want be a bill gate.