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Meet The Roomba’s Upgraded Bomb-Defusing Cousin

iRobot, the company behind the popular Roomba robotic vacuum cleaners, builds other machines that operate in places a bit more dangerous than your living room: the front lines of combat, radioactive danger zones and hostage situations.

More than 4,500 of iRobot’s “Packbot” and other military-grade robots have been used by military and police around the world to assist in detecting and disarming roadside bombs, testing the structural integrity of the fallen World Trade Center towards after September 11, 2001 and doing reconnaissance in radiation-spoiled areas around Japan’s Fukushima nuclear reactors.

iRobot’s Packbot military hardware has proven so useful to American troops that the U.S. military has awarded the company with a $7.7 million order for upgrading almost 250 high-tech robots. The new robots will include several new features including thermal cameras, a self-righting mechanism that helps a flipped-over robot correct itself and the ability to backtrack to restore a broken communications link.

The idea behind these new features is to take as much of the workload off the robot operator as possible, keeping him or her safely at a distance.

“How do you take workload off the operator and do recovery functions through autonomous functions,?” iRobot’s Tim Trainer, general manager of the defense and security business unit, asked Mashable. “That’s the primary function, especially in a place with complex terrain like Afghanistan and the potential for rolling a robot over is increased.”

“You might need to expose yourself to right or recover the robot,” said Trainer, adding that it would put the operator in danger.

SEE ALSO: Beyond the Roomba: How iRobot’s Technology Is Making War Zones Safer for Soldiers

Packbots can move at 6-7 miles per hour and can lift packages weighing up to 30 pounds. They cost about $100,000 to build, but the price tag can vary depending on features. They’re not armored — in fact, they’re likely to “give their life for the cause” if anybody were to shoot one, as Trainer put it.

iRobot’s other military-grade robots are built in different sizes for different mission profiles: a small robot is useful for stealthy reconnaissance, while a heavy-duty robot can tackle disabling or (safely) detonating larger bombs.

You can check out some of the upgraded Packbot’s new features in the above video, courtesy of iRobot.

Source: http://mashable.com/2012/07/17/military-robot/

/ About us

Founded by Russian entrepreneur Dmitry Itskov in February 2011 with the participation of leading Russian specialists in the field of neural interfaces, robotics, artificial organs and systems.

The main goals of the 2045 Initiative: the creation and realization of a new strategy for the development of humanity which meets global civilization challenges; the creation of optimale conditions promoting the spiritual enlightenment of humanity; and the realization of a new futuristic reality based on 5 principles: high spirituality, high culture, high ethics, high science and high technologies. 

The main science mega-project of the 2045 Initiative aims to create technologies enabling the transfer of a individual’s personality to a more advanced non-biological carrier, and extending life, including to the point of immortality. We devote particular attention to enabling the fullest possible dialogue between the world’s major spiritual traditions, science and society.

A large-scale transformation of humanity, comparable to some of the major spiritual and sci-tech revolutions in history, will require a new strategy. We believe this to be necessary to overcome existing crises, which threaten our planetary habitat and the continued existence of humanity as a species. With the 2045 Initiative, we hope to realize a new strategy for humanity's development, and in so doing, create a more productive, fulfilling, and satisfying future.

The "2045" team is working towards creating an international research center where leading scientists will be engaged in research and development in the fields of anthropomorphic robotics, living systems modeling and brain and consciousness modeling with the goal of transferring one’s individual consciousness to an artificial carrier and achieving cybernetic immortality.

An annual congress "The Global Future 2045" is organized by the Initiative to give platform for discussing mankind's evolutionary strategy based on technologies of cybernetic immortality as well as the possible impact of such technologies on global society, politics and economies of the future.


Future prospects of "2045" Initiative for society


The emergence and widespread use of affordable android "avatars" controlled by a "brain-computer" interface. Coupled with related technologies “avatars’ will give people a number of new features: ability to work in dangerous environments, perform rescue operations, travel in extreme situations etc.
Avatar components will be used in medicine for the rehabilitation of fully or partially disabled patients giving them prosthetic limbs or recover lost senses.


Creation of an autonomous life-support system for the human brain linked to a robot, ‘avatar’, will save people whose body is completely worn out or irreversibly damaged. Any patient with an intact brain will be able to return to a fully functioning  bodily life. Such technologies will  greatly enlarge  the possibility of hybrid bio-electronic devices, thus creating a new IT revolution and will make  all  kinds of superimpositions of electronic and biological systems possible.


Creation of a computer model of the brain and human consciousness  with the subsequent development of means to transfer individual consciousness  onto an artificial carrier. This development will profoundly change the world, it will not only give everyone the possibility of  cybernetic immortality but will also create a friendly artificial intelligence,  expand human capabilities  and provide opportunities for ordinary people to restore or modify their own brain multiple times.  The final result  at this stage can be a real revolution in the understanding of human nature that will completely change the human and technical prospects for humanity.


This is the time when substance-independent minds will receive new bodies with capacities far exceeding those of ordinary humans. A new era for humanity will arrive!  Changes will occur in all spheres of human activity – energy generation, transportation, politics, medicine, psychology, sciences, and so on.

Today it is hard to imagine a future when bodies consisting of nanorobots  will become affordable  and capable of taking any form. It is also hard to imagine body holograms featuring controlled matter. One thing is clear however:  humanity, for the first time in its history, will make a fully managed evolutionary transition and eventually become a new species. Moreover,  prerequisites for a large-scale  expansion into outer space will be created as well.


Key elements of the project in the future

• International social movement
• social network immortal.me
• charitable foundation "Global Future 2045" (Foundation 2045)
• scientific research centre "Immortality"
• business incubator
• University of "Immortality"
• annual award for contribution to the realization of  the project of "Immortality”.

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