Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
Need A Hand? These Advanced New Bomb Disposal Robots Can Help With That
There was a pretty clear theme at this year’s Office of Naval Research Tech Expo in Washington, D.C. on July 20: Robots and lots of them. Big ones, small ones; drones that fly, some that swim, and at least one that did both; and a few bots that could probably kick ass in an arm wrestling competition.
But some of the most impressive robots at the expo were focused on an important task: bomb disposal. Among the rigs on display was the Highly Dexterous Manipulation System, a bomb disposal platform from RE2 Robotics now in its fourth iteration:
The Highly Dexterous Manipulation System from RE2 Robotics is able to expertly manipulate small objects, making it ideal for explosive ordnance disposal.Task & Purpose photo by James Clark
The HDMS isn’t so much a robot as an extension of its operator. The bot has a pair robotic arms and a moveable humanoid torso, which allow it to mimic a person’s full range of upper-body motion with far greater strength.
“It can do what humans can do, but on top of that, can lift 110 pounds close-in,” can drag and pull items, and lift or manipulate light objects when its arms are fully extended, RE2 Robotics production and engineering coordinator Aaron Nicely told Task & Purpose.
While the system was designed to serve as an explosive ordnance disposal bomb bot, it can also be mounted on other platforms to function in a range of roles — think manufacturing and healthcare — so long as power and an ethernet cable are available. And unlike some legacy EOD robots, which are usually manipulated through the toggles and switches of a military-grade Xbox controller, the HDMS has a highly intuitive control system, which enables the user to manipulate objects with a great deal of finesse, from stacking blocks, to unwrapping a peppermint:
The Highly Dexterous Manipulation System from RE2 Robotics shows off by unwrapping a peppermint candy at the Office of Naval Research Tech Expo in Washington, D.C. on July 20.Task & Purpose photo by James Clark
But the HDMS wasn’t the only advanced bomb bot at the ONR expo, nor was it the only robot to set a high bar for coordination and graceful movement. The new arms for the Advanced EOD Robotic System look like they were ripped straight from Star Wars.
The Advanced EOD Robotic System, developed by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, offers an incredible degree of control for EOD techs and was on display at the Office of Naval Research Tech Expo in Washington, D.C., on July 20.Task & Purpose photo by James Clark
Developed by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, the skeletal arms allow for a full range of motion, and an extremely fine level of control, which makes it a great fit for deadly operations EOD where precision is key, Geoffrey Osier of Johns Hopkins, told Task & Purpose.
The AEODRS is an open-architecture system, which means it can be easily upgraded with custom software and other emerging technologies as they become available. The system can also function autonomously, observe, and then contextualize data. At the expo, as attendants walked past the booth, an AEODRS video camera promptly identified them as “people" on a nearby monitor
The value of this, Osier explained, is that instead of just recording a massive amount of data and dumping it into a tech’s lap, the system determines what it’s seeing and identifies patterns, which allows a user to note changes in that environment — say, if a car or crate, or some other object appears or disappears. The ability to track such minor changes in a place where troops are operating could mean getting a heads up that something is awry.
The HDMS and AEODRS are both impressive examples of how EOD robots come in recent years, but don’t worry too much about their breathtaking sophistication. They’re not self aware — yet.
A Corpsman went to a military hospital for a routine shoulder surgery. 4 days later he was dead, and his parents say the Navy is to blame
Jordan Way was living a waking nightmare.
The 23-year-old sailor laid in bed trembling. At times, his body would shake violently as he sobbed. He had recently undergone a routine shoulder surgery on Dec. 12, 2017, and was hoping to recover.
Instead, Jordan couldn't do much of anything other than think about the pain. Simple tasks like showering, dressing himself, or going to the bathroom alone were out of the question, and the excruciating sensation in his shoulder made lying down to sleep feel like torture.
"Imagine being asleep," he called to tell his mother Suzi at one point, "but you can still feel the pain."
To help, military doctors gave Jordan oxycodone, a powerful semi-synthetic opiate they prescribed to dull the sensation in his shoulder. Navy medical records show that he went on to take more than 80 doses of the drug in the days following the surgery, dutifully following doctor's orders to the letter.
Instinctively, Jordan, a Navy corpsman who by day worked at the Twentynine Palms naval hospital where he was now a patient, knew something was wrong. The drugs seemed to have little effect. His parents advised him to seek outside medical advice, but base doctors insisted the drugs just needed more time to work.
"They've got my back," Jordan had told his parents before the surgery, which happened on a Tuesday. By Saturday, he was dead.
Two airmen from Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma, were killed on Thursday when two T-38 Talon training aircraft crashed during training mission, according to a message posted on the base's Facebook age.
The two airmen's names are being withheld pending next of kin notification.
A total of four airmen were onboard the aircraft at the time of the incident, base officials had previously announced.
The medical conditions for the other two people involved in the crash was not immediately known.
An investigation will be launched to determine the cause of the crash.
Emergency responders from Vance Air Force Base are at the crash scene to treat casualties and help with recovery efforts.
Read the entire message below:
VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – Two Vance Air Force Base Airmen were killed in an aircraft mishap at approximately 9:10 a.m. today.
At the time of the accident, the aircraft were performing a training mission.
Vance emergency response personnel are on scene to treat casualties and assist in recovery efforts.
Names of the deceased will be withheld pending next of kin notification.
A safety investigation team will investigate the incident.
Additional details will be provided as information becomes available. #VanceUpdates.
This is a breaking news story. It will be updated as more information is released.
The commander of the Marine Corps' Wounded Warrior Regiment has been relieved over a loss of "trust and confidence in his ability to lead" amid an investigation into his conduct, a Corps official told Task & Purpose on Thursday.
Col. Lawrence F. Miller was removed from his post on Thursday morning and replaced with his executive officer, Lt. Col. Larry Coleman, who will serve as interim commander of the Quantico, Virginia based unit.
President Donald Trump has nixed any effort by the Navy to excommunicate Eddie Gallagher from the SEAL community.
"The Navy will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher's Trident Pin," the president tweeted on Thursday. "This case was handled very badly from the beginning. Get back to business!"
A pair of Texas congressmen have introduced legislation to the House to create a monument "to honor the valiant service" of Medal of Honor recipients in Washington, D.C.