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High Risk Duty Robots


In a world in which an abandoned suitcase, a box, or even a pile of rubble can conceal an improvised  explosive device (IED), bomb-disposal robots have become essential. Many units in the field bristle with cameras, feedback devices, and processors. Such sophisticated robots offer a significant amount of capability and autonomy but increasing complexity also drives up weight, size, and cost. Instead of organizations buying one device per platoon or police department, such systems have to be shared across several companies or counties. Enter the Mechanical Mobile Platforms (MMPs), a family of simplified, manportable robots from the Machine Lab Inc. (Fort Collins, CO) that can perform a range of surveillance and bomb disposal tasks at a price point low enough for wide deployment (see figure 1). For the cost of a high-end system, which can exceed several hundred thousand dollars, users can purchase nine or 10 MMPs. Powered by compact, economical, high-torque motors from the Faulhaber group’s value-added reseller MICROMO (Clearwater, FL), the Machine Lab’s robots are making a difference around the world.

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