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Marine Corps Wants a Throwable Robot

samzenpus posted about 5 years ago | from the goblin-bomb-dispenser dept.

The Military 270

coondoggie writes "The US Marine Corps has a request — build and rapidly deploy more 10lb-or-under robots its personnel can throw into dangerous situations that can quickly gather information without endangering Marines. The throwable robot is part of a family of robots that would range from the 10lb version to one that would act as a central controlling device and weigh close to 300lbs. Marine commanders are demanding ever lighter robots so that troops don't have to offload critical equipment from their rucksacks to accommodate them."

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at long last... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29127757)

first post

They should send in a giant robotic dog (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29127759)

... that looks and sounds like something out of a goddamn Stephen King novel. [youtube.com] If you had a whole regiment or whatever of these things, you could do all the reconnaissance you wanted and nobody would say 'boo' to you.

Re:They should send in a giant robotic dog (5, Interesting)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 5 years ago | (#29127833)

Actually sounds more like those spider robots from "Minority report." [technovelgy.com]

Although it doesn't sound like they really want a "robot," they just want something they can throw into a room and see what's in there. Just put a durable webcam in a clear hampster ball. Or if you do need it to move around after thrown, put the webcam on a small RC car.

Marines: I expect a good chunk of your R&D budget for this design.

Re:They should send in a giant robotic dog (2, Funny)

c6gunner (950153) | about 5 years ago | (#29128163)

Just put a durable webcam in a clear hampster ball.

Obligatory XKCD link [xkcd.com] .

Re:They should send in a giant robotic dog (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29128183)

They want it to move around after being throw, yes. That way you can explore a bit if you couldn't tell which window you wanted to throw it through, or you wanted to throw it into a room that isn't full of bad guys who don't want cameras coming in through the windows

The trouble with your RC car design is simple: What if it lands upside down? You need something that can either stabilize itself after getting thrown through a window, or you need something that works regardless of which way it lands.

By the way, the "webcam inside a hamster ball" trick has already been done, IIRC, but I do't know how much use it's seen.

Re:They should send in a giant robotic dog (2, Interesting)

Vectronic (1221470) | about 5 years ago | (#29128855)

Early/Mid 90's there were RC cars that were moderately popular, where the body height was smaller than the wheel height, so it looked like:
O=O (my Google skills failed me)
so if it landed upside down, it was exactly the same as right-side up, if it lands on it's edge, you can either have rounded/ball-like rims, or just give it a bit of throttle and it'll right itself again... there's also the tri-wheel designs too... which allows for a larger body size, but roughly the same over-all size, both came in tracked, and wheeled versions.

$79 RC Car
$89 Wireless Web Cam with Night Vision & Audio (Link [shoptronics.com] )

Couple hours modding/reinforcing... call it $250

You could also go for a more simplistic design, 2 wheels, basically just a powered axel with wheels... kinda like a small Segway without the handlebars and shit, that way you could even modify some sort of rocket/grenade launcher that was large enough instead of tossing it by hand...

Re:They should send in a giant robotic dog (2, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | about 5 years ago | (#29128237)

Actually sounds more like a hand grenade [wikipedia.org] .

Re:They should send in a giant robotic dog (1)

d'fim (132296) | about 5 years ago | (#29128409)

Interesting point.
As my Drill Instructors used to say: "if you can see the grenade, the grenade can see you."
Now, getting the grenade to send streaming video back to the Marine who threw it, that's the hard part.

Re:They should send in a giant robotic dog (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29128583)

A visual display could be distracting in a live fire situation. Perhaps some sort of loud, auditory signal...

Re:They should send in a giant robotic dog (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | about 5 years ago | (#29128805)

There's really no need; the enemy will scream and cry after detonation, revealing their position. Plus they're dead anyway.

Re:They should send in a giant robotic dog (2, Insightful)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | about 5 years ago | (#29128903)

yeah beacuse the US army, don't kill enough innocent civilians and obviously don't need a way to find out if there are women/children in there (cowering or as hostages)!

RTFA - they want Dragon Runner v.2 (4, Interesting)

awtbfb (586638) | about 5 years ago | (#29128523)

Marines: I expect a good chunk of your R&D budget for this design.

The base R&D has been done. They clearly say in the article they want something like Dragon Runner [wikipedia.org] with more capability.

I know a bit about Dragon Runner. Trust me, it's seriously cool and very well engineered. If you don't believe it has the "throwable" part down, watch this movie [cmu.edu] .

Re:They should send in a giant robotic dog (1)

Jared555 (874152) | about 5 years ago | (#29128599)

Unless you want it to be able to go up/down stairs, etc. and then you need a more expensive device.... One person will say 'spend a few million and I will create a device that can climb stairs' the other will suggest a camera attached to a small remote control helicopter.

The government will choose the most expensive option.

Panties STINK! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29127765)

Panties Stink!
They really, really stink!
Sometimes they're red, sometimes they're green,
Sometimes they're white or black or pink
Sometimes they're satin, sometimes they're lace
Sometimes they're cotton and soak up stains
But at the end of the day, it really makes you think
Wooooooo-wheeeee! Panties stink!

Sometimes they're on the bathroom floor
Your girlfriend- what a whore!
Sometimes they're warm and wet and raw
From beneath the skirt of your mother-in-law
Brownish stains from daily wear
A gusset full of pubic hair
Just make sure your nose is ready
For the tang of a sweat-soaked wedgie
In your hand a pair of drawers
With a funky feminine discharge
Give your nose a rest, fix yourself a drink
cause wooooooo-wheeeeeee! panties stink!

Re:Panties STINK! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29128911)

Don't date the girl with VD next time.

Good idea. (2, Interesting)

Dr_Ken (1163339) | about 5 years ago | (#29127767)

Make explode too, eh?

Re:Good idea. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29127995)

The nice thing about Marines is, they always leave their slutty wives alone at home, and they're so easy to get into bed while their husband is away. That whole "love of danger" thing I guess... and you know they're off raping brown people overseas, so it's not like you're interfering in their marriage...

Re:Good idea. (2, Funny)

squidinkcalligraphy (558677) | about 5 years ago | (#29128145)

In Soviet Russia, robot throws you!

Re:Good idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29128243)

They could just use their IPhone for that

Re:Good idea. (2, Interesting)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 5 years ago | (#29128541)

Sure, why not? Spider or ant configuration, they could jump on its target and self-destruct, taking him/her with it. Now imagine them working as a pack together guided by GPS and infrared sight. Spooky!

Weeble? (2, Interesting)

chill (34294) | about 5 years ago | (#29127775)

How about a large Weeble [wikipedia.org] with encrypted wifi, cameras and microphones pointing in each direction, including up? Toss it in, monitor it remotely via wifi.

Re:Weeble? (1)

Dr_Ken (1163339) | about 5 years ago | (#29127811)

Yeah, weebles wooble but they don't fall down. LOL. But the USMC model should explode on command.

Re:Weeble? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29128091)

Its called the Dragon Egg
http://gadgetcrave.com/automated-battlefield-dragon-egg-helps-troops-safely-identify-civilians/2383/

Re:Weeble? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29128267)

I like this idea. Plus, the weeble model would most likely be small enough to be fired from a grenade launcher to get some extra range.

Re:Weeble? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29128499)

Something like this...????

http://www.popsci.com/scitech/gallery/2007-01/cop-tech-2010?pos=8

I have never posted on here but always lurk so apologies for the AC post. I was the lead engineer for this little gadget. Here are some details:

The system came with 2 or 4 Dragon Eggs, each on a different channel and 1 video receiver. The band was the 900MHz ISM band. The transmit power was 1W so it was not FCC compliant( so outside US or military sales only, sorry SWAT). It transmitted the 4 views( B&W, NTSC, 384x278pixels ) simultaneously to the receiver so there was 4 views on the receiver for each channel. There was an internal digital compass that displayed each camera view's direction. On this model there was NO sound. It was powered by an internal lithium-polymer battery pack and recharged off of 5V( there was even a USB charger ). It weighed about 1Kg and was spec'ed to withstand 20 consecutive 2 meter drops on to concrete AND 20 tosses into a second-story window( concrete floor ) from across the street. The body was made of machined polycarbonate( LEXAN ) and the bottom counter-weight that made it always stand upright was tungsten and this "puck" was about 1/2 the weight. Sadly, last I heard from fellow ex-co-workers, it was discontinued for the final time( it had been revived about 5 other times in past ). There were a bunch of other cool little features, like USB connectivity for firmware upgrades, onscreen display of battery life, onscreen display of "health" and to turn in on, you pulled the "pin" and tossed it.

First Prototype (5, Funny)

Penguinshit (591885) | about 5 years ago | (#29127779)

Designated "GR3N4-DE"

Oh great (2, Funny)

Misanthrope (49269) | about 5 years ago | (#29127781)

Just what George Lucas needs to hear about...

U R Doing It Wrong (5, Insightful)

IBitOBear (410965) | about 5 years ago | (#29127787)

The robots should be carrying the equipment and throwing each other.

The marines should be making the decisions and dodging the other guys robots.

Re:U R Doing It Wrong (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about 5 years ago | (#29128315)

We'd need a robot to throw a 300lb robot for us.

Re:U R Doing It Wrong (1)

pwizard2 (920421) | about 5 years ago | (#29128335)

We'd need a robot to throw a 300lb robot for us.

Or you could go medieval and build a catapult.

10lbs...throwable? (0, Flamebait)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | about 5 years ago | (#29127805)

how far can you heave a 10lb weight into a situation that you can't see directly in front of you? Over a wall? Perhaps. Around a corner? Perhaps. But if there is someone there and they see a 10lb robot arcing into their room / trench / side of the wall, they will:

a. destroy it immediately
b. know exactly where YOU are, and while you are making sense of the "data" it is supplying, you may well expect a counter-offensive move of some deadly force...

Yet another dumb idea from a bloated military that should be pared down by 50% for the next 3 years running.

Re:10lbs...throwable? (3, Interesting)

langelgjm (860756) | about 5 years ago | (#29127867)

Sure, 10 lbs is heavy, but this would be a first version. That, and the summary says 10 lbs and under. 10 lbs is probably the maximum weight they asked for in their request for proposals.

On the other hand, imagine if they got it down to the size of a tennis ball or golf ball, and it only weighed a couple ounces. You could throw several into an area simultaneously, or throw them at night... I feel like I've seen several sci-fi or action films where the protagonist rolls a little ball with a camera around a corner.

Re:10lbs...throwable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29127917)

That depends. Are they looking for camera-with-legs type robots, or something more like the Replicators? Or maybe suicide bots? Or they could take the bomb off the suicide bot and call it a grenade. Those ensure safety too, just in a different way.

Re:10lbs...throwable? (5, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 5 years ago | (#29127923)

how far can you heave a 10lb weight into a situation that you can't see directly in front of you?

Further than I would want to throw myself if we're talking about into a room with a lot of angry men with guns. Also, I'm not in the same shape a marine would be, I'd expect a marine would be able to throw a 10lb weight further. The article specifically mentions "can see around corners inside buildings, sewers, drainpipes, caves, courtyards" so corners, not distances, and it sounds kind of like they're looking into remote controlled after being thrown.

Yet another rash judgement from someone didn't even RTFA, let alone knows the full story. But lets not let trivial details like facts we don't know stand in the way of our statement that fully half our military budget is completely dispensable.

(For the record, I'm a liberal and also dislike the amount we spend on the military. It's not that I'm biased in favor of dumping all our money on the military, you're just making us look dumb.)

Re:10lbs...throwable? (-1, Troll)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | about 5 years ago | (#29128173)

Further than I would want to throw myself if we're talking about into a room with a lot of angry men with guns.

OK. Room full of angry men with guns. this calls for:

10 lb robot to case the joint before it gets blown to bits by multiple rounds from an AK47, or:
767 gram fragmentation grenade that explodes and shreds the angry men with guns into little tiny pieces.

10lb Robot... 1.75lb grenade... 10lb Robot... 1.75lb grenade...10lb Robot... 1.75lb grenade... I'll take the grenade.

"can see around corners inside buildings, sewers, drainpipes, caves, courtyards" so corners, not distances, and it sounds kind of like they're looking into remote controlled after being thrown.

OK, and you can throw it exactly HOW FAR? A trained Olympic quality athlete has difficulty throwing a 16 pound shotput more than 20 meters. A high school shotput thrown by a high school athlete (which would be roughly equivalent to a fit, if not future, member of the military) tossed a 12lb shotput 81 feet, and it's a bit of a record. Now put this in the hands of your average 30something National Guardsman on his 6th tour of duty in some dusty hellhole - he (or she) is not likely to get those kinds of numbers.

A big drain pipe? Send in the retarded douchebag from chicago with the stupid tribal tatts with a flashlight on his M16 with an RPG mounted. Anything moves, shoot. If it sounds like it will / can shoot back, fire the RPG. He'll be deaf for a week, but hey - this is a volunteer army, not conscription. This is a contract - you are property.

courtyards? Oh, puhleeez. I can see it now...

Ali: Hey - Akmet - look! Someone tossed something over the wall at us into the courtyard. Looks like a robot.
Akmet: Really? Cool. Target practice! Weeee! (TAK TAK TAK) OK. Now it's a pile of junk.
Ali: Good shot, there Akmet.
Akmet: Thanks. Where'd it come from?
Ali: Over there, by the palm tree.
Akmet: OK. Wanna bet who can toss three grenades over there fastest?
Ali: You're on. You can have one of my virgins if this all goes badly.
Akmet: Same here - You're on! 1.2.3. THROW! THROW! THROW!
(WAMP!!..... WAMP!!.... WAMP!!... WAMP!!..... WAMP!!.... WAMP!!...)
Ali: Hah! I win! You owe me a virgin, fucker. So, we should probably check it out.
Akmet: sure. I'll get up on the roof over there, so I can see what's going on and keep you covered - you go out and shoot anything that moves.
Ali: OK.
(seconds later)
TAK TAK TAK TAK TAK TAK TAK TAK TAK TAK TAK TAK TAK TAK TAK TAK TAK TAK TAK TAK TAK TAK TAK TAK
Ali: Hey - Akmet - the grenades got most of 'em but a few were wounded so I shot 'em.
Akmet: good on ya, Ali. Let's go get some lunch.
Ali: all because they heaved some stupid robot.
Akmet: Yeah. Stupid americans. Maybe if they just stayed home and stopped fucking with people, no one would care.
Ali: Yeah. I mean, like do we care about the Norwegians or the Danes? Or the Chileans? Hell no.
Akmet: Yeah - typical imperialist nonsense. They never learn, it seems.
Ali: Yeah. kinda sad.

Re:10lbs...throwable? (1)

germansausage (682057) | about 5 years ago | (#29128289)

How do you know there isn't a bunch of women and babies hiding from the fighting in the next room. Or for that matter, some of your valiant Iraqui allies. Wouldn't it be better to have a look see first? You could still have a couple of guys with grenades ready to throw.

better safe than sorry (0, Flamebait)

r00t (33219) | about 5 years ago | (#29128641)

If we let the kids grow up, they become terrorists.
Women give birth to future terrorists.

Re:10lbs...throwable? (1, Flamebait)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 5 years ago | (#29128745)

Mmmmm-kay. Yeah, you sound like a combat veteran who knows what he's talking about. NOT!!

What you actually sound like, is a middle aged has-been who watches to much television and assumes that Hollywood knows combat.

Challenge: Define "shelter" and "cover". Watch a dozen or even a gross of Hollywood productions. Watch carefully for every instance in which the concepts are accurately conveyed, and realistically used.

BTW - you might have RTFA. It's the MARINES who want this 10-poung-or-less-robot, not the National Guard. No one who has ever worn a uniform can possibly confuse the two.

Re:10lbs...throwable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29128241)

Point being that they already know where you are and you them. What you dont know is, how many are on the other side of that wall, how many are around that corner, how they are armed. Finding your enemy in the situation the Marines want this robot for isnt the problem. The problem is determining your enemies strength, their defensive positions, movements, etc etc. And no using a UAV wont work. To many steps to get actual intel on the ground and in the fight. To many people requesting its use...

And this coming from the Marines, I would expect something low tech but not costing a couple of billion dollars.

Re:10lbs...throwable? (3, Interesting)

jmp_nyc (895404) | about 5 years ago | (#29127945)

First off, the summary says that the military keeps requesting progressively smaller robots. This one might be 10 lbs, but there may be a 5 lbs version in the future.

As for usefulness, it depends on the application, and how mobile the robot is once it hits the ground. For example, in a firefight situation, a robot might be able to move through the crossfire (perhaps even taking a couple of bullets in the process) in a way that a human could not.

Personally, given that urban house-to-house combat is much more prevalent these days, I'd be more interested in a robot that would have no trouble climbing stairs and turning doorknobs. Better to send a robot into booby-traps than humans...
-JMP

Re:10lbs...throwable? (1)

Zordak (123132) | about 5 years ago | (#29128317)

I'd be more interested in a robot that would have no trouble climbing stairs

Or better yet, leveling the building.

Re:10lbs...throwable? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Cowar (1608865) | about 5 years ago | (#29128031)

beats the living crap out of peeking your head around the corner and hoping nobody shoots you or blindly charging through rooms hoping you don't set off an explosive trap. Pro-tip: the taliban, terrorists, socialists, communists, or liberal media don't have a trip-mine that can respond to a robot being chucked into the middle of the room if the robot doesn't bounce into the explosive device or any triplines.

Supposing that there are people in the room, they won't know exactly where you are. You might be able to guess at their general vicinity or point of entry, but if you were sitting on your computer, your couch or having a conversation, distracted and not expecting something to come crashing through your window, door, over your wall, or whatever, and you only see the thing landing and bouncing, I'd wager every dollar I have that you couldn't a) guess within 5 feet of where the object came from or b) react to it before your door came crashing down and marines come charging through your door.

They train the armed forces personnel how to chuck things. Like they train marines how to chuck a grenade such that it spends so much time bouncing off of walls and skating across the floor that by the time you can pick it up, it will go off in your face before you can throw it back.

I'm sure they'll come up with something that won't land in the middle of a room and sit there for 2 minutes so that the operator can get a front row seat to the robots destruction and the following retaliation.

Re:10lbs...throwable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29128115)

b. know exactly where YOU are, and while you are making sense of the "data" it is supplying, you may well expect a counter-offensive move of some deadly force...

Since infantry work in squads I imagine that there would be someone covering the guy who is making sense of the data. So if the enemy comes charging around the corner or whatever, so much the better for the Marines.

Re:10lbs...throwable? (4, Interesting)

Old97 (1341297) | about 5 years ago | (#29128123)

A lot you know about counter insurgency. First of all they generally already know you are there especially if they are enemy combatants. If you approached with a lot of stealth, you wouldn't use a throwable robot if you had one that could scoot in on the ground. You could even just use fiber and peak around. Special ops guys might have that but Marines and regular soldiers aren't usually that stealthy.

Throwing means that you have an obstacle or barrier of some sort. Now, if you are one side of a wall at night and you hear voices on the other do you peak around and say "howdy!"? If they are bad guys are even a farmer with a weapon who is worried about bandits you'll get your head blown off. On the other hand if you just fling some grenades over then you might kill a room full of kids. If you throw a robot in and they are not combatants you'll find out without killing anyone. If they are combatants and throw the robot back then you just toss some grenades in return. They'd probably hope you didn't know for sure they were there so the could surprise you so they might stay very still and quiet and hope they are not detected.

The other situation is that no one is there but the place is booby trapped. Your robot may spot them or even set them off. That's much better than you or your buddies accidently setting them off. Just knowing that no one is in the room can let you to decide to bypass it or to focus on booby traps also being concerned about someone hiding there.

Re:10lbs...throwable? (1)

aztektum (170569) | about 5 years ago | (#29128645)

If they're combatants and you throw a robot first (not knowing who they are yet) I'm pretty sure they'll be throwing grenades in return.

Re:10lbs...throwable? (1)

Bobby Mahoney (1005759) | about 5 years ago | (#29128275)

Urban.

Warfare.

Re:10lbs...throwable? (1)

evilviper (135110) | about 5 years ago | (#29128279)

how far can you heave a 10lb weight into a situation that you can't see directly in front of you?

I'd have to say, well in excess of 23.12 m (75 ft 10.2 in). [wikipedia.org]

Re:10lbs...throwable? (1)

Tekfactory (937086) | about 5 years ago | (#29128319)

Due to an injury in the late summer I couldn't play football my senior year, so I did Track instead...

As soon as I saw your post, I thought Shotput... 12 pounds, and Discus 4.4 pounds... and they both went pretty far.

A few years later I did some Scottish Highland Games and threw a big rock called the Braemar a 20-26 pound stone, 28 pound weight on a chain and a Telephone pole called the Caber.

The Rock went 25-35 feet, the 28 pound weight gets the advantage of a lever and goes further.

Personally I all for the idea of the Hamster ball with 3 axis movement, and a webcam floating level in the middle that you could roll quietly into the enemy camp. Obviously the surface of the ball needs to be anti-static so dirt won't stick to it, or the webcam won't see much.

And maybe this robot doesn't need to blow up on command, maybe it should strobe lights or drop a flash bang just before the entry team comes in.

Re:10lbs...throwable? (1)

cyphercell (843398) | about 5 years ago | (#29128449)

I was thinking it should be put on a sling. A sling bot, then even at five pounds it should get some decent distance. Bonus, if you can hit an enemy combatant with it!

Re:10lbs...throwable? (1)

jesseck (942036) | about 5 years ago | (#29128587)

You know, when I was in Fallujah, we believed in sending sending anything into a room before a Marine. If the building is occupied by people shooting at you, why send a Marine, when rockets do the same thing? Same idea with robots- send that. If the enemy decides to attack after seeing a robot, let the enemy get ambushed by the Marine fireteam around the corner. Read about the shit that happens when we send Marines into fortified houses. Robots make perfect sense.

yes, less military spending (2, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 5 years ago | (#29128685)

because the world is a pleasant campfire singalong, and no ones means any one else any wrong

as russia tries to claim the arctic, engages in neoimperialism in the caucasus, as china ramps up its military spending, as myanmar tries to get nukes, as north korea has them, as iran tries to get nukes, as venezuela ramps up military purchases of heavy armament, etc., etc.

yeah, its a world of love and good will. no need for a serious military, you're a genius

Has anyone considered infants? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29127813)

They're about 10 pounds and very throwable.

But that's against the law... (0, Redundant)

dbcad7 (771464) | about 5 years ago | (#29127829)

1# A robot may not harm a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2# A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
2# A robot must protect its own existence, as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Re:But that's against the law... (3, Funny)

Dr_Ken (1163339) | about 5 years ago | (#29127849)

Naw. Skynet repealed those laws.

Syntax error (2, Interesting)

argent (18001) | about 5 years ago | (#29127943)

You fool! You have two second laws, and one of them's self-referential! No wonder the robots went mad and started killing people!

Re:Syntax error (1)

FunPika (1551249) | about 5 years ago | (#29127981)

1# A robot may not harm a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2# A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3# A robot must protect its own existence, as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
There, now that version of Asimov's laws won't cause issues.

Re:Syntax error (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | about 5 years ago | (#29128239)

Actually, I've always thought #1 and #2 should be switched. Even for general use.

You don't want the machine second-guessing you every moment of every day, you want it to do what you told it to do. If it harms someone because of your order, that's your responsibility. It should never harm someone without an explicit order to, of course, but it also shouldn't say 'I won't do that, because it might harm someone'.

Maybe there's just a possibility, and you are willing to take that risk. Maybe you'll have further orders for it that will prevent that harm. Maybe you know something it doesn't. Maybe you are just plain smarter than it is. But it shouldn't be overruling you. (You might weight them as Asimov did in his stories, so they aren't quite 'if-then-else', of course.)

Re:Syntax error (1)

Goateee (1415809) | about 5 years ago | (#29128095)

It wont make any difference as long as the compiler/mind knows that the second part can never conflict with itself.

Re:Syntax error (2, Interesting)

argent (18001) | about 5 years ago | (#29128205)

Do not feed the elephant.

Re:But that's against the law... (1)

FunPika (1551249) | about 5 years ago | (#29127951)

Who said the bot had to harm humans?

Re:But that's against the law... (1)

Anonymous Cowar (1608865) | about 5 years ago | (#29128067)

No it isn't violating the laws, at least from what i can tell after reading half the summary. The robot might not be armed, unless it lands on someone, it won't harm them (although the whole inaction thing may be an issue). It will accept any order transmitted via Encrypted RF input to scan and survey the room. And well, it's kind of screwed on the third law, but if it can move and has automated processes, it may try to skedaddle out of the way of danger provided the operator has set the switch to auto-navigate.

Re:But that's against the law... (1)

dbcad7 (771464) | about 5 years ago | (#29128085)

And further ..
3#
4#
4#
5#
6#
6#

Shheew.. Now everyone will think I did it on purpose.. fooled them!

Re:But that's against the law... (3, Funny)

Macrat (638047) | about 5 years ago | (#29128179)

And the other police directives:

  1. "Serve the public trust"
  2. "Protect the innocent"
  3. "Uphold the law"
  4. (Classified) "any attempt to arrest a senior OCP employee results in shutdown"

Re:But that's against the law... (1)

FunPika (1551249) | about 5 years ago | (#29128299)

How did this get modded down as redundant? :/

Re:But that's against the law... (3, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | about 5 years ago | (#29128493)

"But that's against the law..."

"Law", unless sufficiently backed by force, is merely an expression of wishful thinking.

Our troops deserve the best (0, Troll)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | about 5 years ago | (#29127839)

Our valiant men, women and children in uniform deserve the very best. Wherever they are defending freedom, they need to be protected with the most advanced technology. In recent years, terrorists such as Arabs and black people in New Orleans have been developing ever more sophisticated and nefarious schools, clinics and air raid shelters. Will our brave fighting heroes be up to the task in engaging and destroying these threats to our freedom if they can't see inside these terrorist hiding places remotely through their military ipods? God bless America and thank GOD for Barack Obama who has the courage and resolve to take the necessary measures to rearm our nation against the ever present threats to our freedom!

Just what we need... (1)

solios (53048) | about 5 years ago | (#29127859)

... Type One Autonomous Mobile Swords [wikipedia.org] .

Eep!

Re:Just what we need... (1)

c6gunner (950153) | about 5 years ago | (#29128211)

I wish. If we had those, we'd never have to bother with house-clearing again!

Existing solution (4, Funny)

bobdotorg (598873) | about 5 years ago | (#29127863)

Why not just arm one of these. [shaharazran.com]

Re:Existing solution (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29127971)

Paint them orange and...

Oompa, loompa, oomptiddy do...

If you attack a marine,

you will get it too..

What do you get when you arm a child?

a machine gunning BRAT!

Oompa loompa ...

Re:Existing solution (1)

macraig (621737) | about 5 years ago | (#29128105)

I'm a red dwarf, you insensitive clod!

Mine's gonna be named an awesome backronym... (1)

johnthorensen (539527) | about 5 years ago | (#29127973)

...recursive no less.

CHUCK: CHUCK Hates Urban Combatants, Kill!

Waste of money (1)

SanguineV (1197225) | about 5 years ago | (#29128003)

Typical military project wasting money on building a specially "throwable" robot - every robot is throwable (once)!

Re:Waste of money (1)

Dr_Ken (1163339) | about 5 years ago | (#29128073)

I understand your objection. How about duct taping a discarded but working cellphone or a obsolete digital cam to a standard fragmentation grenade? The extra add-ons will only add a few bucks to the cost, plus the Marines can post the last minute panic before it blows on YouTube. heh.

Not a new idea... (1)

jrwilk01 (88081) | about 5 years ago | (#29128023)

Sounds like an updated version of a monkey with a lit stick of TNT tied to his back. Easy to throw, difficult to throw back.

Such robots already exist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29128035)

See the company : http://www.reconrobotics.com/

The folks here have been developing this technology for 10 years now. It started as a DARPA-funded academic effort and has now gone commercial.

DEPLOY A SENTRY HERE! (1)

strredwolf (532) | about 5 years ago | (#29128071)

All of this makes me think of what could be an Acme Instant Sentry. You throw a toolbox over, it rights itself, builds up a bit, and in seconds you got a limited capacity automated sentry. If there's room, just add a speaker and program it to say "Hell-looooooooo-hoooooooo? Can-you-come-over-here? There-you-are." *ratatatatatatatatatatat!*

The Marine Corps Should Watch Futureweapons (2, Informative)

dummondwhu (225225) | about 5 years ago | (#29128077)

Or maybe it's Modern Marvels. I've been seeing all kinds of robots over the last couple of years on these shows. I saw one that was like a little pair of wheels with a camera on the axle and what looked like a weighted antenna hanging off the back (to keep it oriented correctly). Soldiers would throw it into a room and drive it around looking for hidden bad guys or booby traps. Then, there was one that was a little track-driven thing that had a machine gun mounted on it. They were even talking about the possibility of making them rather autonomous at some point in the future.

All this stuff seems to be in the development pipeline, so I'm not exactly sure what they're asking for.

Re:The Marine Corps Should Watch Futureweapons (1)

c6gunner (950153) | about 5 years ago | (#29128273)

All this stuff seems to be in the development pipeline, so I'm not exactly sure what they're asking for.

They're asking for a bidding war.

Everyone knows that this technology exists - what the military wants is for multiple companies to create and test their own models within guidelines which are defined by the military, put them through a test/demonstration phase, and offer them a price for the contract. if they just went and bought some of the stuff you saw on Modern Marvels, they'd end up with untested machines which may or may not fit all the requirements (and may need to be modified as their deficiencies become apparent), and probably a hefty price tag to go with them.

I want one... (1)

jesseck (942036) | about 5 years ago | (#29128107)

Reading about cool stuff like that, makes me want to get back in. Too bad this type of thing will already have been fielded to the Army 10 years prior to the Marines getting it...

Re:I want one... (1)

Dr_Ken (1163339) | about 5 years ago | (#29128133)

Don't sweat it. The Marines will make their own stuff and it'll work better and be cheaper than the Army's too. Just watch.

What happened to the iPhones? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29128157)

They have camera and voice recording capabilities on the iPhone right?

Can't they throw that instead?

iSoldier (0, Redundant)

Yvan256 (722131) | about 5 years ago | (#29128203)

There's an app for that.

As a former Active Duty Marine, (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29128185)

I would prefer a *reliable* device that added *as little as possible* to the 70lbs I already carry, that "just works," even after I throw it, drop it, sit on it in sand and gets shot twice. If it still does the job, I'll buy the damn thing myself...

unfortunately, a lot of this tech doesn't work that well, that's why k-bars and bayonets are still issued.

Also, I agree that robots should be carrying gear so I can kick some $given_enemy butt.

CAPTCHA: "uncouth" coincidence?

Unspecified Bonus (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | about 5 years ago | (#29128209)

Not listed is an unspecified bonus if the device says "Bite my shiny metal ass" after gathering information.

Marvin (1)

Samah (729132) | about 5 years ago | (#29128277)

I think you ought to know I'm feeling very depressed.
Brain the size of a planet...
Life... don't talk to me about life.

They can call it (1)

inglishmayjer (1417713) | about 5 years ago | (#29128303)

Chairbot

So they want a Throwbot, eh? (1)

Orion Blastar (457579) | about 5 years ago | (#29128323)

I'm all for it if it saves lives.

Invent gun holders that can see around corners via telescope and infrared cameras and hold a pistol or rifle so it can be fired around corners.

Then again throwing a Throwbot instead of a Grenade means less innocents are killed that way, what if you have innocents in the other room who aren't armed and are hostages or used as human shields? Throwing a grenade means the innocents die as well, throwing a Throwbot gives you another view to take sniper shots with and only kill the armed enemy and leave the innocents alone and alive.

Re:So they want a Throwbot, eh? (1)

couchslug (175151) | about 5 years ago | (#29128643)

Not killing innocents helps avert their surviving kin and friends taking offense and becoming hostiles.
Discriminate killing is useful.

Metric (2, Informative)

rocketpants (1095431) | about 5 years ago | (#29128395)

For anyone that doesn't live in one of the three countries [metric4us.com] in the world that persists with imperial units, 10lbs is about 4.5kg.

Throwable? That's easy. (4, Funny)

SoundGuyNoise (864550) | about 5 years ago | (#29128435)

All robots are throwable. The key is, you have to find the one that handles the landings better than the rest.

What they want already exists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29128603)

In the form of the Eye Ball R1 - http://www.defensereview.com/eye-ball-r1-throwable-camera-system-for-high-risk-mille-tactical-ops/

Now, if they want to be able to control the devices movements, I'm sure that Remington or the company who actually designed them would be more than happy to do a bit of a redesign to suit.

They already have throwable robots. (4, Informative)

Animats (122034) | about 5 years ago | (#29128639)

There are already throwable robots. The iRobot PackBot is sometimes thrown through a window to get a look inside a house. The USMC would like something a bit smaller, but the concept already works.

Previous urban tactics were to throw in a grenade or demolish houses with artillery and tanks, so there's been some progress.

Waste of energy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29128673)

Can't they just use cats with cameras strapped to their heads?

Old news (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | about 5 years ago | (#29128687)

10lb-or-under robots its personnel can throw into dangerous situations

You mean like the I-Ball [slashdot.org] ?

a bit slow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29128703)

I don't know if they realize this, but Talon Ops bought out a company that is making EXACTLY this already - to the letter. The little robot is called the Dragon Runner, and the larger robots can do just about anything - shoot guns, missiles, do recon, disable bombs, etc. They're already in use the field.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmPMlT6XpHM - That's the Dragon Runner in action. It's also customizable with treads, weapons, etc.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yliThCy3RxY - TALON with a gun on it.

I sat through a lecture about these this summer. They're pretty damn cool, but expensive - even just the Dragon Runner has a $30k price tag.

It Exists! - The Scout from Recon Robotics (5, Informative)

Amadablam (516748) | about 5 years ago | (#29128793)

(Disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with this company, but I know somebody who is. I should talk to him about a "complimentary robot for referrals" program.) http://reconrobotics.com/ [reconrobotics.com] Recon Robotics makes a product called the Scout that is designed specifically for this purpose. Each robot weighs only 1.2 pounds, is deployable and easily controllable by a single soldier, and is relatively inexpensive compared to other combat-ready robot technologies. I know I want one. ;)

Answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29128803)

Pokeball!

You 7bail it (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29128827)

Sure thAt I've [goat.cx]
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