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.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditEmail this to someone


  1. 0
    hellfire7885 says:

    Hey, I remember that picture.

    One of LaRouche’s little robo minions came to the forums and spammed that image to try to prove some connection between video games and the US Military.


    Anyway, the Xbox 360 controller is basically an RC controller that’s harder to tamper with and adds more functionality than standard RC controllers, and is much simpler and familiar than those uber big robo controllers, so it’s use makes perfect sense.

  2. 0
    Chamale says:

    Using an Xbox 360 controller is a wise move on the army’s part. Microsoft has spent millions developing its controllers, and made millions of dollars selling them. The army now has a control set-up which many soldiers are used to, and which they know is fairly reliable. Plus, they’re mass produced and easily available.


    An Xbox 360 has a button which makes it "bond" with a controller, so the controller only affects and responds to that one console. Theoretically, the army could put the same sort of function on this robot in case the controllers or robot are damaged. That way, they wouldn’t need to replace both.

    This is a signature virus. Please copy and paste into your signature to help it propagate.

  3. 0
    GoodRobotUs says:

    And strangely enough, it looks like the lovechild of something from a Video Game and a Vacuum Cleaner…

    And, I just have to say for posterity…

    "No Disassemble number 5!"

Leave a Reply