iRobot Makes Defense Bots Easier To Control

Most people might know iRobot's technology for its Roomba household vacuum-cleaner robot, but a growing number of security, defense and first-response professionals are relying on the company's robots to help them disarm bombs, check for radiation leaks or conduct industrial safety checks. While those robots are becoming more capable, the job of controlling them just became a whole lot simpler with iRobot's new Android-based system that can manage whole teams of robotic devices at once.

iRobot's uPoint multi-robot control (MRC) system can be downloaded onto any device to give operators a more intuitive, touchscreen-enabled way to control their defense and security robots.

Set to become available in the second quarter of 2015, the uPoint MRC will be demonstrated during the AUSA 2014 Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C. next week. The new control system also comes with uPoint Robot Radio, which enables robot-to-robot networking and automatic switching to avoid congested frequencies during emergencies.

Quicker, Easier Updates

More than 5,600 iRobot defense and security devices are currently in use around the world. They include everything from the 5.2-pound iRobot 110 FirstLook, a nimble and camera-equipped robot designed to help operators quickly assess emergency or security situations from a distance, to the 500-pound iRobot 710 Kobra, which can open doors, break windows and right itself if it rolls over on rough terrain.

We reached out to Orin Hoffman, iRobotEUs technology director of defense and security, to learn more about the new capabilities the Android-based MRC will provide.

EUWe want to provide the most flexibility possible,EU Hoffman told us. EUItEUs critical for the folks that are our current users today.EU

Hoffman said iRobotEUs security and defense devices are becoming more complex and capable of handling many different tasks. Until now, however, they have also required dedicated controllers that took specialized training to operate. That created...

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