It’s as if giving cheetah-like speed to an advanced robot wasn’t good enough. The engineers over at Boston Dynamics must have been thinking to themselves, how can we make this thing even more menacing? The answer seems to be adding a highly dexterous articulated arm that gives the robot the ability to chuck objects as heavy as cinder blocks. We’re not kidding, look at the image above and you’ll see one mid-flight in the upper left. A quick search tells us that block probably weighs 30 pounds!
BigDog is a research project for the US military that we’ve seen navigating all kinds of terrain. It’s a heavy lifter able to carry loads where other machinery cannot. But now they’ve added an appendage that reminds us of an elephant’s trunk. It branches off of BigDog’s body where a quadruped’s neck would be. At the end of the appendage is a gripper that looks much like what you’d seen on industrial assembly robots. But enough talk, click through to see the action video. Oh, and if you didn’t pick up on the cheetah reference we made earlier you’ll want to check out this post.
Continue reading “BigDog throwing cinder blocks”
Check out the toy this solder is using. It’s a tiny remote-controlled helicopter. The thing comes in a kit that includes a small tablet through which the nose-mounted camera image can be viewed. These are in use in Afghanistan by the UK Military. The purpose is to help protect foot soldiers by allowing them to perform discrete reconnaissance. What would you pay for this type of life saving technology? How does $31 million for 160 units sound? For that price we expect eight propellers and a cinema quality camera.
The drone is manufactured by Prox Dynamics. They’ve been in development since 2008 and you can bet that a lot of that time went into making it “inaudible” which is the main difference we see between this and hobby-built versions. For now you’ll have to deal with trying to make your own since they will only sell to the government.
The best we can do for you when it comes to video of the thing is prototyping footage from 2009 (after the break). If you have a link to a newer clip we’d love to see it in the comments.
Continue reading “Military steals idea of anyone who ever tied a cellphone camera to quadcopter”
They say all’s fair in love and war – trust us, you don’t have to tell these guys twice.
With the war in Libya raging on, the rebels have turned to anything and everything to help give them the upper hand. Engineers and engineering students have put aside their work and studies to become the architects of the Libyan revolution. In a school playground-cum-weapons facility people from all walks of life work together creating powerful weapons from scrap parts.
[Rajab], the group’s chief weapons engineer, used to drive trucks for a living. Now he is directing his fellow fighters on how best to re purpose scrap materials and recovered military weaponry into effective killing machines. As you can see in the video below, everything is fair game. Their creations range from pickup trucks fitted with recovered fighter jet machine guns, to a Power Wheels chassis that has been converted into a remote controlled machine gun turret.
It’s amazing the things that can be produced with some scrap materials and a bit of ingenuity.
Continue reading “Libyan rebels turn toys into weapons of war”
We’re always fascinated by flying drones around here, and this latest creation by Japan’s Ministry of Defense is no exception. The spherical drone, which looks far simpler than this drone we saw several months back, looks pretty benign at first glance. Once it starts moving however, you can see just how slick it is.
Reports say that it can hit a top speed of 40 mph, but it seems that the fun is relatively short-lived, as the drone runs out of juice after about 8 minutes. While it is flying, the drone appears to be incredibly agile and fairly easy to control. The built-in camera isn’t top end, but it looks more than sufficient for general surveillance use.
While we love quadrocopters and all of the cool acrobatics they pull off, there’s something awesome about a drone that can hit the ground at speed, roll, and take off again without incurring any serious damage.
Anyone care to start work on a civilian prototype with a longer battery life?
It looks like Lockheed Martin is the latest victim in what seems to be an endless string of security breaches. This time however, it does not look like a lack of security measures led to the breach. In fact, it seems that Lockheed’s implementation of a widely-trusted security tool was the attack vector this time around.
Last month we reported on the apparent compromise of RSA’s SecurID product, and while many speculated that this intrusion could lead to subsequent attacks, the firm downplayed the breach. They stated that the stolen data was unlikely to affect their customers, but as usual, the problem appears to be far larger than originally estimated.
The breadth of the intrusion is currently unknown, and with both RSA and Lockheed officials keeping mum, it may be some time before anyone knows how serious it is. When military secrets are in question however, you know it can’t be good!
The iRobot Warrior 710 is shown here touting a new toy called an APOBS or Anti-Personnel Obstacle Breaching System. The system is comprised of an explosive rope pulled by a rocket. We know that sounds pretty awesome, and you can see in the video that it is, in fact, pretty awesome. We don’t condone violence, or war. We do, however, love blowin’ stuff up. This footage was just so pretty, we thought we had to share it. What’s even more amazing is that these guys aren’t battling Apple over the name iRobot.
In the military, you have to carry tons of stuff. This is something we hear and see all the time. They are always trying to come up with ways to reduce the weight or quantity of the things that you bring into the field. This power generating backpack harnesses the natural up and down motion of your steps to produce power. This could reduce the amount of batteries carried into the field greatly. That’s what they say anyway, how many batteries do soldiers normally carry around? Aside from that point, we think it is pretty cool. We could see using this to keep our cell phone or GPS charged on long hiking and camping trips. You could also build something of your own to work similarly.