Exhibited a robot that has been shown to helping Military

Friday, March 23rd 2012. | Science News

robot militerUnder a large white tent in the parking lot of the Sheraton Hotel on Harbor Island could be the answer to saving more troops from improvised explosive devices.

“Fifty-two percent of the casualties happen on first contact with the enemy,” said Tim Trainer of iRobot. “We’d prefer to have that first contact via robotics.”

iRobot is part of a national conference of robotic manufacturers in San Diego for the annual National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) conference.

IEDs have killed more than 650 U.S troops in Afghanistan since 2001 and injured more than 6,500.

“The sophistication and dexterity of robots being made today are vastly improved since the first conference we had in San Antonio six years ago,” said retired Army Brig. Gen. Barry Bates, now the vice president of operations for the NDIA.

“There’s always one or two things in a conference like this one that come out of the blue and rock you back to say, ‘Wow, this is really possible,'” said Kent Massey of HDT Robotics.

Massey could have been talking about his own product, known as the MK-2. The MK-2 is a dual-armed robotic device that mimics the movements of a human. It has arms delicate enough to pick up a light bulb, yet strong enough to grab a set of weights of up to 100 pounds.

The annual conference draws military procurement officers looking to augment the devices with troops in the field.

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