DARPA’s Robotic Arm Is Close To Commercialization (+VIDEO)
The Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, is gradually bringing the United States to the forefront of robotic technology. As part of a national research project, aimed at developing advanced robotic systems and prosthetic devices for wide use, it has recently released a video of a two-armed robot that can change a tire using a tool. Darpa is planning to design a robot arm and hand that can search for an improvised explosive device by touch. The challenge would be to program a hand that could open the zipper on a gym bag and then go through the bag and recognize objects by touch. The agency is going soon to create a joint project to present some of the inexpensive technology advances it has made in the project into a related effort to develop prosthetic limbs for wounded soldiers. The teams from iRobot and the government’s Sandia National Laboratories are working on the hand project: to cut the costs they make use of widely applicable technologies, like cellphone cameras and sensors. The National Robotics Engineering Center at Carnegie Mellon University, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of Southern California are being funded to continue development of high-level software for the next generation of robot arms. Geoffrey Ling, acting deputy director of Darpa’s Defense Sciences Office, claims that robotic arm is very close to mass production; it provides a high level of functionality, and the patients who have it are willingly using it.
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