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US Military To Field Test "Throwable" Robots

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the toss-it-and-forget-it dept.

Robotics 91

cylonlover writes "Robots are a perfect tool to give soldiers in the field 'eyes' on a potentially hazardous situation without placing themselves in harm's way. With soldiers often operating in difficult terrain or entering buildings, the easiest way to get such robots into place is usually to throw them. Currently, many units use a small tactical robot called the Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle 320 which is equipped with video reconnaissance technology. However, this robot weighs a not very pack-friendly 32 pounds (14.5 kg), so the call has been put out for a lighter robot that is more easily transportable by dismounted units on the move and is able to be thrown into forward locations such as buildings and caves. To this end, the U.S. military is set to put three different types of lightweight, 'throwable' robots through a series of combat assessments in Afghanistan."

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91 comments

Of course.... (2, Insightful)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616304)

Its hard to see why they need this since they haven't actually needed to DEFEND this country since um.... they were fighting with muskets.

Seems they would get a lot more bang for their buck by not fighting wars than coming up with all these better ways to do it.

Re:Of course.... (2, Informative)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616424)

Hawaii begs to differ.

Re:Of course.... (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616544)

So does Alaska [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Of course.... (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616626)

So does the entire east coast, think German submarines.

Re:Of course.... (1)

basketcase (114777) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616632)

I know I am splitting hairs here but neither was a state at the time.

Re:Of course.... (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616754)

Territories are still part of the US. The US military is supposed to defend Puerto Rico just like it would defend Cape Cod (which, as a sibling post points out, was also under actual military attack in WWII).

Re:Of course.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37618914)

Yeah, but do you really want to wait until AFTER the car crash to put on clean underwear? EMTs prefer you put on clean skivies BEFORE they have to scrape you off the pavement. So it is with developing new technology for the military. Do it now so it's ready when you do need it. Plus our economy can use the influx of military spending. Sheesh.

Re:Of course.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37618316)

Yeah, but we have nukes now.

Re:Of course.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37620682)

Hawaii was not a state in 1941.

In fact, Hawaii did not become a state until 1959. Alaska also became a state in the same year.

Re:Of course.... (2)

Tekfactory (937086) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616446)

Well, we're there and we're doing it. Since we are comitted, maybe the best thing to do now is not get our boys killed running blind into buildings and caves full of people who want to kill them.

Also I can see DEA and SWAT teams using these in a manner where they typically use fiber optic cameras now.

Re:Of course.... (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616698)

Also I can see ... SWAT teams using these in a manner where they typically use fiber optic cameras now.

They already do. Get your police scanner and listen for awhile. I listened to this most recently last week, tossing these things into an "intoxicated man with warrant barricades himself in house" situation. Locally, they call them "camera balls"

High comedy at the end of every incident they ALWAYS end up unable to find at least one, and have to detail one guy to watch the monitor while the other guy walks around with a flashlight kicking stuff over and opening all the doors. Worse is when it gets broken and they have to search the entire building.

You'll also hear plenty of radio traffic along the line of "who has the monitor?" and whining about the battery being dead.

Re:Of course.... (4, Insightful)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616780)

Hopefully we can send all the DEA to the fucking unemployment line within the next few years since, once they legalize pot (which is the vast majority of illegal drug users... more than the next big 3 combined).

Aside from that... just don't include me in your "We". I am disgusted that I even have to pay for a dime of any of this warmongering BS. I am not commited at all, if it were up to me the operative words on ending the wars would be "immediate, and complete". Out of afghanistan, out of Iraq. Hell....out of Korea. Been an utter waste of our money for generations.

No commitment here. And nobody willing to die for this government is "my boy".

-Steve

Re:Of course.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37617506)

We'll at least some dumb Americans are willing they're even dumber than the ones whos actions created the attack on 9/11 which ultimately led to this current cluster fuck.

In short, if you did this, which is exactly why Obama didn't withdraw, you would guarantee another 9/11 on US soil. This is why, when Obama said he would pull the troops out, he was lying his ass off. He absolutely knew he could not. Furthermore, anyone who thinks we can, well, are so unintelligent and/or so uninformed so as to have no credibility and are therefore not worth listening to in any way.

Your logical is literally: Stop the war NOW so as to ensure loss of global credibility, mass murder and revenge, which will eventually cause another 9/11 attack in the US. Brilliant. Completely fucking brilliant.

As the GP post said, we absolutely are committed unless your a complete fucking idiot. Like it or not, we're there. So long as we're there you'd have to be a complete fucking idiot to not do what is required to support our troops.

You saying "we" doesn't include you is as dysfunctional and delusional as it gets. But hey, what do you expect from someone who clearly has no fucking clue what's going on in the world.

Re:Of course.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37617908)

ensure loss of global credibility, mass murder and revenge, which will eventually cause another 9/11 attack in the US

We already did all of that a while ago.

Re:Of course.... (1)

AnokWati (2478256) | more than 2 years ago | (#37625700)

No commitment is right. When the terrorists, who've had years to plan, train & equip in complete safety because we weren't there to stop them, launch a coordinated attack on U.S. infrastructure that takes out bridges, power, oil, gas, and medical services, you can sit there and smoke your pot, in the dark, with no XBox, no cell phone, no food arriving at your grocery store, and no more pot because it can't be delivered to you anymore! You'll be happy, though: The DEA will have other things to worry about rather than busting you for your dime bag. And, you're right: no one willing to die for their country could BE your boy. You have to have testicals to get a date, let alone get her pregnant. Now can we get back to the discussion on the technological aspects of throwable robots, instead of your lame, pot-induced demonstration of how out of touch with reality you are? Thanks

Re:Of course.... (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 2 years ago | (#37628548)

ROTFL you think they can be stopped? ROTFL.

They will have years to plan, train, and equip, no matter what you do. Because "they" are not real. "They" are not the cohesive group, and no pronoun is going to make "them" into one. A terrorist attack could happen today, tomorow, next week. Nothing anybody does is every going to change that fact. Period. 100% waste of time and money.

The main reason another one hasn't happened? Simple.... there just are not that many people trying, and those few that are, are not even competent, or are FBI plots, setup for no other reason than to appear effective.

> You have to have testicals to get a date, let alone get her pregnant.

He said to the happily married man. Enjoy your delusions genius.

> Now can we get back to the discussion on the technological aspects of throwable robots, instead of your lame, pot-induced demonstration of how out of touch
> with reality you are?

I was somehow stopping you from discussing something else? Am I making you hit reply?

So sorry about that, I will try to remember there are people out there who are so retarded that they think the "Fight them there" BS actually did anything useful.

Re:Of course.... (1)

Bucky24 (1943328) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616580)

Well you know what they say, a good offense is the best defense...

Re:Of course.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37616792)

yea, how'd that work out for the 3rd Reich and Japan....

Re:Of course.... (1)

Bucky24 (1943328) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616824)

it was sarcasm.... I'm well aware it's not a good policy to hold as far as national defense.

Re:Of course.... (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616942)

Or what Dan Quayle once said: "Bobby Knight told me this: 'There is nothing that a good defense cannot beat a better offense.' In other words a good offense wins."

Re:Of course.... (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616748)

The problem with isolationism is this. If the rest of the world is controlled by one country (USSR) or a coalition of countries (Axis Powers) then they can easily blockade the US. They just don't buy or sell from the US. The US will collapse from lack or resources (especially oil) and the dominant powers just come in and mop up.

Japan screwed up in WW2. As Admiral Yamamoto said after the attack on Pearl Harbour; "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve."

Re:Of course.... (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616892)

Who said anything about isolationism? Since when is not murdering people for political reasons "isolationism"?

Also, why would we just assume that such a scenario, which has never really been the case in the world, is likely or plausible? It seems to me that the entire argument rests on the paranoid notion that the entire rest of the world can be convinced to act together on anything, much less turning down large swaths of business.

Just not going to happen, this is the sort of thinking that made sense back when a thousand mile radius was basically the entire world for all intents and purposes, the world is just too large for unification. Frankly, I doubt the US is going to be able to keep it together for more than another generation.... it is just too much under one tent.

Re:Of course.... (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 2 years ago | (#37618634)

Isolationism is ignoring world events up until the point that US territory is invaded. They tried that before WW2 and all it got them was a Europe taken over by Germany and most of China taken over by the Japanese.

The basis of my post was your assertion that "they haven't actually needed to DEFEND this country since um.... they were fighting with muskets." Most wars after that have been fought on foreign soil. It seems that for the military to be defending the US you think they must be fighting on American soil.

In WW2 there were the Axis Powers; Germany Japan and Italy. If the US had not supplied resources, arms and armaments to the UK and Russia and then sent troops to Europe it is quite reasonable to project that Germany could have controlled all of Europe, the middle East, Africa and defeated Russia. One major reason they lost in Russia was that Germany was fighting a two front War. In the Pacific, Japan wanted to create the "Asian Co-prosperity Sphere" which encompassed all of Asia. Japan were doing a pretty good job at it until the US was brought into the war. If the Axis plans had succeed the world, other that the US and maybe Canada (much of South America was already sympathetic to Germany), would have been controlled by three countries who worked together.

A similar thing nearly happened during the Cold War with USSR wanting Europe, Africa and the Middle East and China wanting Asia. Is it so far fetched that two Communist countries would act in concert against the last major Capitalist country in the world?

  Maybe you should read more history.

Re:Of course.... (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 2 years ago | (#37628370)

Ignoring? Who said ignore? I just said that is where the bright line for the use of ANY military force should be, and should set the goal of that force.

If they can't survive as an institution without war, then they shouldn't survive as an institution.

"If the Axis plans had succeed the world, other that the US and maybe Canada (much of South America was already sympathetic to Germany), would have been controlled by three countries who worked together."

Right right...if it had worked, if they could have held it together long enough to solidify their hold. If they even continued to be allies. Most of the world is quite a lot of area to occupy. Hell, many government's today can barely be said to occupy their own nation, but you think worldwide dominance by less entities than can be counted on one hand, then, I think I have a bridge in Brooklyn you should consider buying too.

It may have taken time, they may have gotten further, but, I see little that tells me their plan had much chance of working, and even if it had worked, long term, probably wouldn't have been nearly as bad as all that anyway. Once the war is over, you still have to govern.

> A similar thing nearly happened during the Cold War with USSR wanting Europe, Africa and the Middle East and China wanting Asia. Is it so far fetched that
> two Communist countries would act in concert against the last major Capitalist country in the world?

Nearly eh? You still buy the whole Communist vs Capitalist BS too eh? Interesting. It is far fetched that any country will exist long with any real ideology.

The cold war was never driven by much more than the delusion on each side that the other was seriously planning to wipe the other out. If we were in Russia 30 years ago, you don't think you would hear people worried that the Capitalist nations would gang up together on the communists? The entire cold war was little more than an infantile pissing match, for which BOTH sides should be deeply ashamed.

Re:Of course.... (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 2 years ago | (#37618670)

Who said anything about isolationism?

To an extremist, any statement of disagreement is taken as advocacy for their opposite extreme. The idea of a moderated position is incomprehensible -- the dial only had two settings: zero and eleven. Five is right out...

Re:Of course.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37618936)

Isolationism is an extremist position in itself.

Re:Of course.... (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 2 years ago | (#37630920)

I could have sworn it was a rather worthless term that exists solely as an epitaph to toss at any suggestion that there are things internationally that we should avoid involving ourselves in.

All I ever said was that war has been unnecessary and not defensive. Since when is not going to war, isolationism? Is war the only way in which "we" can interact with the world...or the only effective way? Thats silly. There is a fair distance between not going to war frivolously and isolating the country.

Re:Of course.... (1)

cavePrisoner (1184997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37617212)

Maybe all of us soldiers should just go home so you can see how friendly our neighbors really are.

Re:Of course.... (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#37618542)

Yeah, except for when US soil was invaded by Pancho Villa before WWI, and Japanese troops actually landed on US soil(well, technically at that time territorial Alaska, look up the invasion of the Aleutians) back in WW2.

Re:Of course.... (1)

AP31R0N (723649) | more than 2 years ago | (#37624402)

You should attend a high school or college US History class, or a world history class. It's full of why you are wrong.

Re:Of course.... (1)

kilfarsnar (561956) | more than 2 years ago | (#37626174)

You only say that because you're not a defense contractor.

Re:Of course.... (1)

KingBenny (1301797) | more than 2 years ago | (#37648150)

to protect you from yourself ofcourse? after all if free speech is to be a privilege according to some old-worlders you will need to be protected and checked on your proper use of goodspeak

Yes throw it away (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37616306)

why not just drop bundles of cash on the battlefield?, i'm sure that Pashtun famer has a much better use for cash than a big bang
just skip the middlemen and drop raw cash

mental image (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37616362)

A giant trebuchet slinging bender robots.

Re:mental image (1)

stevegee58 (1179505) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616454)

Yes, feed them beer and they'll belch fire at the enemy.

Re:mental image (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37617878)

No, no, no. You need more vision. This is the RPR - Rocket Propelled Robot. That's the best way to throw them into action.

Why so hard? (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616452)

Why is this something that has not been made yet?

Get a small wireless surveillance camera, attach a battery, and put it in a container that is throw able and will always land upright.

Toss though the window, and have it try to scan the room as quickly as possible.

This should cost less than $300 per.

Something like this could be used as the base camera.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16881102046 [newegg.com]

Re:Why so hard? (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616576)

Already being done [coolest-gadgets.com] . These devices have been used quite often on the TV show Flashpoint which follows a fictional Canadian SRU.

Re:Why so hard? (1)

Bucky24 (1943328) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616598)

a container that is throw able and will always land upright.

I remember seeing a commercial for a radio controlled monster truck toy that could do this.

Re:Why so hard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37616622)

I was thinking similarly, but I would just stick a camera on a remote explosive. If you don't like what you see, push the button and kaboom!

Re:Why so hard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37617044)

Make it look like a hand grenade and the enemy might just throw it back at you so you can reuse it.

Re:Why so hard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37616654)

I've been seeing these throwables in US military hands for something like 10 years now. I'm not sure why this is big news now.

As for cost per unit, I'd guess it has everything to do with the military requiring everything to be indestructible, lasts for 20 hrs on a charge, can't be jammed, can't be intercepted, etc. Everything they have suffers from mission creep.

Re:Why so hard? (1)

jacksinn (1136829) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616808)

We could just attach them to kittens!

Re:Why so hard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37617000)

"Get a small wireless surveillance camera, attach a battery, and put it in a container that is throw able and will always land upright."

We just used to toss dwarfs before it came politically incorrect.

Re:Why so hard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37617010)

Doing it at all? Sure, that's easy; it's a reasonable project for a high school engineering class.

Doing it in a package that can be used in the heat of the Iraq desert? With sand getting into everything? And in the cold in the Afgan mountains? And is as light as possible, because airlifting stuff into Afganistan is expensive? Can stand the jostling of being in some marine's backpack as he runs around and dives for cover? Works after being left in that marine's backpack for a month? And is sufficiently shock resistant that when a soldier tosses it through a window and it smacks into a brick wall, it still works? And is waterproof, so when it lands in a puddle, it still works? And is resilient enough to scoop it up and reuse it again and again after tossing it into walls, mud, rivers, etc? And is padded so it doesn't make too loud a "thunk" when it hits the ground so as not to alert nearby people that someone is throwing cameras around? And uses reasonable encryption and authentication so you know you're seeing the right streaming video and you're not being hacked or accidentally watching the camera someone else is tossing around two blocks over? And has a powerful enough transmitter to be hard to jam?

That's not so cheap. When people mock the military for overpriced equipment, they usually aren't considering the fact that military equipment has a lot more environmental requirements than the stuff you're going to use in your home.

Political FTFY (1)

AndyAndyAndyAndy (967043) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616474)

"Robots are a perfect tool to give leaders 'eyes' on a potentially hazardous situation without placing themselves in harm's way."

Won't be long now before grunts are no longer out there.

Re:Political FTFY (1)

Beorytis (1014777) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616880)

Won't be long now before grunts are no longer out there.

Think of how much federal budget we'll save by eliminating those wages, and how much revenue it will generate at the state penal institutions where those ain't-no-fortunate-sons(-or-daughters) end up.

Re:Political FTFY (1)

cavePrisoner (1184997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37617402)

Not there yet. Actually new technology increases the need for grunts. Who do you think carries it? If we go on a mission with a dozen high tech tools, do you think there is any one person who is an expert in all of them? Not a chance. Plus, anything with a screen is a distraction. You can't look at a screen and pull security at the same time. Whoever uses this needs a few more guys to make sure nobody is sneaking up on him. Not to mention firepower will never be obsolete. One guy with all the tech in the world will still get beat by a dozen guys with rocks if they know what they're doing.

Re:Political FTFY (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37617988)

Who do you think carries it?

DARPA's MULE [popsci.com] ?

If we go on a mission with a dozen high tech tools, do you think there is any one person who is an expert in all of them? Not a chance. Plus, anything with a screen is a distraction. You can't look at a screen and pull security at the same time. Whoever uses this needs a few more guys to make sure nobody is sneaking up on him.

Transmit it to some base where a guy in a room with AC will analyse the data and video?

Maybe not for now, but it'll happen.

throwability isn't the new part (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616518)

As the article notes, they already use "throwable" robots, and have for a while. This is just an R&D effort to come up with a lighter-weight one.

They've been around at least a decade I'd guess. When I read the "Absolute Beginner's Guide to Building Robots" [amazon.com] in 2003 (alas, I didn't build any robots, guide or not), it already included a section where it mentioned in passing that the military had something called a "throwbot" that soldiers could throw into confined areas for reconnaissance, so it must've been common knowledge by then.

Pikachu, I CHOOSE YOU! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37616522)

Soldiers throwing robots into battle just sounds like someone was watching a LOT of Pokemon, lol.

uh, oh, Uncle Sam... (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616524)

Looks like Lego has a trademark on the Throwbots brand. Good luck with that, those Dutch aren't going to let you get your warmongering hands on it.

Re:uh, oh, Uncle Sam... (2)

idontgno (624372) | more than 2 years ago | (#37617458)

Lego is Danish, not Dutch [wikipedia.org] . That said, both are inaugural members of NATO [wikipedia.org] . They'll monger war right along with the rest of us, and I'm sure if necessary the trademark can be licensed.

If all else fails, consider that trademarks don't have to be universally distinctive, just distinctive within a particular commercial endeavor, and no one can sanely claim that naming military reconnaissance robots the same as the North American branding of a Lego throwing toy is "passing off".

Minority Report Spiders (1)

milbournosphere (1273186) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616606)

Sounds like they want some of the little spider robots from Minority Report. I see the immediate benefit to our troops in combat, but Minority Report also clearly shows the disadvantages.

Re:Minority Report Spiders (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616764)

Actually, you could create spider mines. Or worse, jumping spider mines that attach themselves to the poor SOB prior to detonation. Maybe have them communicate in a hive-mind so they surround a platoon agree on picking targets just prior to rushing in for the kill. Now that's nasty.

Re:Minority Report Spiders (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37617610)

And then you could have super-fast, grenade-throwing ground vehicles to drop them, and call them "Vultures."

Re:Minority Report Spiders (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37622906)

They could swarm a site, jump and latch into people like bandoliers, then demand immediate surrender on the grounds of not blowing up. Everyone cooperating gets to stay in one piece. Zero fatalities on both sides unless someone acts dumb.

Unit Canon (1)

xaoslaad (590527) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616656)

The concept reminds me of the Noah Unit Canon in Supreme Commander 2

What about Beebots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37616682)

Why no beebot launchers?
Beebot is a simple, small robot that looks and acts like a bee, has mic, camera, and a really energy-dense power supply. (optional poison crazy purple knockout gas)
Pretty much used for "round the corner" spying, can be recharged from a larger power pack.
Best part is these things would be incredibly cheap, almost disposable, if a mass-fab unit were built up.
Could possibly even use wireless power in addition to batteries considering the distances.

Why did I go in to software development again?
Why didn't I go the engineering and electronics route?! I've been playing with electronics and stuff since as far back as I can remember when I was a kid.
Damn you VTech laptop with BASIC! Damn you~!

Re:What about Beebots? (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#37618288)

Um, Beebot?

http://www.terrapinlogo.com/bee-botmain.php [terrapinlogo.com]

I think it's missing cameras and wings.

Re:What about Beebots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37619022)

Heeeey, even better, fly it in under the guise of a child friendly toy.
Then suddenly, needle-dart right in the throat, with the vocal, "It feels like happy!"

Viewer (1)

Chase_Encode (919503) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616700)

I see nothing in article mentioning how they control or view what the robot is seeing. Seems a very important part of the equation. 5lb robot 20lb controller? American grenades shaped like baseballs is not without reason. I don't see tossing any of these robots through a second story window, or even a ground level window given a safe distance. These all look like scouting type robots. Need a more K.I.S.S. type deal of just a P&T camera w/IR that you huck into an area. If it lands in a bad spot, huck another.

Obligatory Simpsons: (2)

dark_requiem (806308) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616702)

First mobster: Hey, they's throwin' robots!
Linguo: They are throwing robots.
Second mobster: It's disrespecting us. Shut up a'you face.
Linguo: Shut up your face.
Second mobster: Whatsa' matta you?
First mobster: You ain't so big.
Second mobster: Me an' him are gonna' whack you in the labonza.
Linguo: Mmmm... AAH!... bad grammar overload. Error. Error.

Lightweight seems cool and all... (1)

Lohrno (670867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616722)

But it would mean other stuff is usually sacrificed (Either Money or Durability probably). Why not just make a mini mortar for them or a slingshot?

Arduino (1)

OneArmedNoodler (2428724) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616778)

This could done for less than a hundred bucks and in a couple of hours.

Re:Arduino (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37617880)

And it wouldn't stand up to my 4 year old. Let alone a fucking war zone. You moron slashfag. You demonstrate the shortsighted ignorance that's common on this site.

Design it like a toy for teens (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37616816)

Hampster ball style poly-carbonate globe with traction texture.

Electronics at the bottom for weight, slowly adjustable camera. Multi-directional floating stepper motor wheels, have college kids build this as their final project under GPL terms and use the final design.

Replaceable/swappable parts:
Poly-Carbonate globe
Wheels
Stepper motor sub-assembly (should have a standard interface and wire up to the main board)
Battery
Camera assembly
main board

Bonus points if you can control it using an off the shelf kid's toy thing. It's not going to be quiet or prohibitively expensive (relative to alternatives) so security isn't a major part of the package. However a secured bitstream for control/video should be planned (again using COTS hardware) as a future upgrade. This would just be the fastest initial solution to the problem.

I'm sorry Dave... (1)

hilldog (656513) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616828)

I can't allow you to throw me.

Military experiments in the field (1)

microphage (2429016) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616848)

How do the Afghan people feel about their country being used as a field experiment by the US military industrial complex?

microsoft? (1)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616966)

Does Microsoft have a grant to develop software for this? Their CEO has some experience with throwing things,. . .

How long before... (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#37617228)

How long before some know-it-all slashdotter posts some ridiculous idea on how this might be subverted to allow the enemy to gain the upper hand?

Re:How long before... (1)

Cyko_01 (1092499) | more than 2 years ago | (#37622460)

hmmm, a baseball bat maybe?

Re:How long before... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37628770)

I was just going to say one hell of a strong electromagnet coil around any openings. Points if you can reverse it so it goes back out the same way it came in.
  I would just go low tech and place some drapes over all door and windows followed by a hole. Hell that might stop an entry team even! Quick have to file a patent on a hole in the ground with cover!!!!!

Civilian experiments in this realm (1)

ediron2 (246908) | more than 2 years ago | (#37617278)

Also, check out Smile For The Grenade! "Camera Go Bang!" [ubergizmo.com] Vlad Gostom and Joshua Marpet have been at Derbycon, Defcon, etc their work toward a flare-gun-launched camera. When they presented their 'Firefly' at BSides LV this year, they acknowledged they're still struggling against acceleration-related problems, and consider their work at version 0.1 level.

But the ideas have promise, and a flaregun launcher design offers greater range than throwing, uses tech already in nonmilitary use, has search-and-rescue and other nonmilitary uses, and will be much cheaper than the military devices (if memory serves, down from $2000 per round single-use, down to $200 and a possibility of reuse). And making it into a throwable device that lands upright would be child's play compared to the 'survive being fired out of a gun' logisitical challenges.

Re:Civilian experiments in this realm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37618780)

UPenn's General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception (GRASP) laboratory, in collaboration with MIT and a German organization, has successfully devised autonomous quadcopter robots that are throwable [youtube.com] . They're pretty damn awesome: the series of videos [youtube.com] includes automated construction, jumping through hula-hoops, juggling, and much more.

Robots you can trust (2)

tmosley (996283) | more than 2 years ago | (#37617400)

I'm all for this, after all, you should never trust a robot you can't throw out the window.

Re:Robots you can trust (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37622674)

Seconded.

I trust my 'bots as far as I can throw them too.

Runaway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37617840)

Has anyone seen "Runaway"?
http://m.imdb.com/title/tt0088024/

They already had this idea in the 80s. Small, viscious killer robot spiders... Just toss, and collect the bodies.

Now, for some mooses to throw them! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37618460)

Ally _oop_!

Back to the catapults? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37618528)

I guess its one way of evolution...

Minor Leaguers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37618828)

Now if they are not getting anywhere in the minor leagues, pitchers can join the special forces and pitch robots..

Robot? Hobbit? (1)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 2 years ago | (#37619478)

When I first read the headline I thought it was about dwarf tossing..........

http://www.hobbithousemanila.com/ [hobbithousemanila.com]

Soccer ball + camera? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37620118)

Use a fricken soccerball, put a camera and some C4 into it, throw it into the hut, if the "terrorists" or anyone you don't happen to like much is inside, detonate them to hell.

Job done.

leaked video of prototype (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37621036)

Video of one of the prototype units [youtube.com] has found its way onto the Internet.

Missing tag (1)

Macgrrl (762836) | more than 2 years ago | (#37622616)

Surely these are Pokemon.

I hurd you liek mudskips :P

Am I the only one ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37622876)

thinking of the xkcd hamster ball robot? http://xkcd.com/413/ :D

They can put cameras through your digestive tract (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 2 years ago | (#37623904)

Seeing as medical science can get 360 degree views of a person's guts by virtue of a pill with an array of cameras and a short range antenna, I'm certain you could make the thing grenade-size and have some hardy optics, and transmit the 30m or so you can actually chuck a grenade.

At least! What I have always wanted! (1)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 2 years ago | (#37625184)

Motherfucking Sentry gun launcher! Fuck yeah! Would give all my scrap metal for it.

Obligatory question: (1)

DiEx-15 (959602) | more than 2 years ago | (#37625534)

What could possibly go wrong?

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