Roomba's sniper-detecting cousin, the REDOWL PackBot

redowl sniper-detecting bot

We all knew that the technology behind helpful little Roomba (and its cousin Scooba) couldn't remain benign for long, and now iRobot has slid deeper into bed with the U.S. military, adding sniper-detecting gear to its already-deployed PackBots. At yesterday's U.S. Army convention in Washington, iRobot was showing off its new PackBot-mountable REDOWL (Robotic Enhanced Detection Outpost With Lasers) system, which is capable of zeroing-in on an enemy sniper's location and videotaping his surroundings with a Sony camcorder. The REDOWL (named after the head-rotating bird of prey) is composed of a laser rangefinder, sound detection equipment, thermal imager, GPS receiver, and four separate cameras. REDOWL-equipped PackBots (which had previously been used to locate and detonate explosives) are able to distinguish between different muzzle sounds and are not fooled by gunshot echos in urban battlegrounds. Fortunately there are no immediate plans to attach guns to these bots, which could have created some dicey situations when soldiers pop open that celebratory can of beer after a battle.

[Via The Raw Feed]