There's something pretty damn appealing about a controllable robot that can be hurled through a window and live to tell the tale. It looks like the military brass agree; The Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) has ordered over 100 of iRobot's 110 FirstLook scouting units. Unsurprisingly, these robots are tougher than your garden variety RC vehicle. Aside from managing our desperate throws, these can survive 15-foot drops, self-right, relay radio communication over a digital mesh network and feed back video from its four built-in cameras. After a year of internal testing, the bots will get their first on-the-job trial in an "operational assessment" later this spring. Check out the (military) man-toy in action right after the break.
iRobot receives military order for FirstLook robots
Represents first significant order of company's small, light and throwable robot
BEDFORD, Mass., March 6, 2012 – iRobot Corp. (NASDAQ: IRBT), a leader
in delivering robotic technology-based solutions, received a $1.5
million order, funded by the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat
Organization (JIEDDO), for more than 100 of the company's model 110
FirstLook™ robots. Since its introduction last year, the iRobot 110
FirstLook has undergone extensive testing and demonstrations with the
customer. All robots under this order have been delivered and will
take part in an operational assessment this spring.
FirstLook is a small, light and throwable robot. It is ideal for a
wide range of infantry and special operations missions, including
building clearing, raids and other close-in scenarios. With four
built-in cameras, FirstLook provides multi-direction situational
awareness while keeping the operator out of harm's way.
FirstLook possesses a unique set of capabilities. While it weighs just
five pounds, it is robust enough to survive 15-foot drops, overcomes
obstacles as high as seven inches and automatically self-rights when
flipped over. Future capabilities include two-way audio communication
and digital mesh networking, which will allow multiple robots to relay
radio communications over greater distances.
"iRobot has received very positive feedback from the field about
FirstLook's capabilities, and we are excited about the advantages this
game-changing robot will provide to our troops," said Tim Trainer,
interim general manager of iRobot's Military Robots business unit.
"Similar to how iRobot's PackBot and SUGV robots changed the way
explosive ordnance disposal missions are conducted, we feel FirstLook
will change how infantry and special operations missions are performed
in the years ahead."