Army Robot Has Video Games and Vacuum Cleaner in its Family Tree

At the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, the U.S. Army is testing robotic weapon systems, the origins of which can be traced back to the Xbox 360 and the Roomba vacuum cleaner, reports nextgov:

Spec. Ronald Wagle is a 23-year-old video gamer turned grunt… The handheld gizmo he uses to control a robot "is almost exactly the same as an Xbox [360] controller," he said.

Wagle uses the controller to deftly steer the robot, whose camera-equipped head gives it more than a passing resemblance to the R2-D2 robot in Star Wars, to check buildings in the village for weapons, including trip wires that could set off an improvised explosive device.

The robot, built by iRobot Corp., the same company that makes the Roomba vacuum cleaner, features cameras that can see in daylight and dark, has flexible treads that allow it to climb stairs, and radio links…

GP: Note the Xbox 360 controller carried by the soldier in the picture at left. More info on the Army’s SUGV program is available on Wikipedia.

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