One of the most popular themes in sci-fi, and one of the most prominent in Japanese sci-fi, is the idea of creating a robot by combining other robots together. It’s a theme followers of this blog should be very familiar with, since we’re dedicated to particular TV series that has heavily featured robots and combining robots since ’78 (or ’93 for those of you not in the know). However, the idea up until this point has been just science fiction, just something entertaining to watch while transitioning to the giant robot fight scene. But now, US soldiers at Fort Benning are starting to make that a reality.
Members of the Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment at Fort Benning have bypassed the robotics firms all together and have been using that army sense of improvisation to make their own robots, and their doing it by combining the capabilities of different robots and combining them into one. How you ask? By physically combining the robots to each other to create the ultimate machine!
In particular, they mounted a TiaLinx Cougar 10 (a surveilance robot that uses radio frequency sensors to detect eve the tiniest sounds from behind a wall) onto the back of a faster and stronger Lockheed Martin Squad Mission Support System, or SMSS (a load-bearing unmanned ground vehicle capable of carrying up to 600 pounds) to create a surveilance vehichle that was fast enough to clear through an urban area while sensitive enough to pick up on any possible threats. And for that intended purpose, this combination worked perfectly.
And this success does mean a lot. While this combination might not be perfect in all situations (the SMSS’s engines make it too loud for stealth missions), this does say a lot about that army DIY ingenuitey, and has implications for the future of modular robotics.
If this continues, we could see something like this someday:
Okay, it’ll probably look more like this (at first):
One step at a time, right?
I’d like to give a hand to James Pailly over at Pailly Planet for bringing this article to light.
-M.C., the Quantum Twin
The next scientific innovation I want to see: Real-life morphers/henshin devices. Make it happen scientists!