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Robotics

Boston Dynamics to Build Humanoid Robots for DARPA

August 15, 2012
By George Seffers

Boston Dynamics Incorporated, Waltham, Massachusetts, is being awarded a $10,882,438 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract. The contractor will develop and build a set of identical humanoid robot systems for use by performers in both phases of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Robotics Challenge Program. This effort will develop robotic platforms consisting of two legs, a torso, on board computing, two arms with hands, and a sensor head. The robots to be delivered to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency will be distributed to the top software development teams based on the results of the Virtual Disaster Challenge of the Robotics Challenge program. The contractor will also provide in-the-field support and as-required maintenance to the delivered systems. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is the contracting activity.

Pushing Robots Toward Autonomy

October 5, 2011

U.S. Army researchers have enhanced the Talon robot with an array of technologies to make the system more autonomous. Upgrades include inertial navigation and Global Positioning System technologies, a 306-degree camera system and laser radar, upgraded power distribution boards, an e-stop system, Ethernet radios, control computers and software for running the system.

Microrobots Could Have Mega Impacts

September 12, 2011

Researchers from Argonne National Laboratory have discovered methods to make teensy robots perform an array of tasks on command.

Robots Up in Arms

May 20, 2011
By Rachel Eisenhower

Three U.S. Army units are preparing to go to war with robots armed, for now, with nonlethal weapons.

"We Have the Technology"-Prostheses Put Troops Back in Action

April 8, 2011
By Beverly Schaeffer

Injured warfighters, formerly relegated to desk jobs or early retirement, now may have a new lease on military life. Advanced prosthetics give these brave troops the option of returning to active service-a nearly foreign concept in previous wars.

NASA AWARDS CONTRACT MODIFICATION TO L-3

February 9, 2011
By George Seffers

NASA has signed a contract modification increasing the not-to-exceed value of a support contract with L-3 Services of Fairfax, Virginia, by $49 million, bringing the total value of the contract to $98 million. The contract provides simulation and software technology support to Johnson Space Center's Software, Robotics and Simulation Division in the fields of design, development, testing and operations of intelligent systems, robotic systems, spacecraft flight software systems and real-time simulation systems. This work supports the development and operations of the Space Shuttle and International Space Station programs, the Orion project, the Mission Operations Directorate training systems project and advanced programs for exploration.

NASA Awards In-Space Robotics Servicing Contract to Lockheed Martin

January 7, 2011
By George Seffers

NASA has awarded a sole-source contract to Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Greenbelt, Maryland, for Systems Engineering for In-Space Servicing. This 18-month contract has a value of $31 million. Lockheed Martin will provide systems and discipline engineering support to develop and execute two demonstrations to test and verify new robotic servicing capabilities using the Dextre robot aboard the International Space Station. The Canadian Space Agency's Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator, or Dextre, is a two-armed robotic system designed to perform intricate maintenance and servicing tasks, which previously would have required spacewalks.

Alion to Research Robotic Prosthetic Limbs

December 21, 2010
By George Seffers

Alion Science and Technology has recently been awarded a $1 million contract to lead a modeling and simulation research effort that could help enhance the field of prosthetic limbs for wounded soldiers. The 18-month, U.S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity will explore affordable and improved approaches in bringing robotic control technology to the field of prosthetic limbs. Alion will develop a protocol and modeling tool for robotic, upper limb prosthetics that may lead to the development of an affordable, lightweight, prosthetic device that is more functional to the amputee, more power-efficient and has an extended battery life. The program is designed to augment and accelerate the development of implantable electronic sensors and the development and application of virtual prototyping simulation models, which will ultimately help the amputee better control the prosthetic. Since 2003, 1,145 soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan have had a limb amputated.

Battlefield Robotics: A New "Leash" on Unmanned Life

September 13, 2010
By Beverly Schaeffer

The notion of robots as trusted companions on the battlefield is no longer limited to the scope of science fiction or TV adventure. With the U.S. Army's Robotics Collaborative Technology Alliance and its members forging ahead on autonomous technologies, warfighters may just very well have their own "Lassie" to save the day. What more can be done to enhance robotic artificial intelligence to benefit the troops? Share you ideas here.

Lockheed Martin to Test Robotic Exoskeleton for Soldiers

July 14, 2010
By George Seffers

Lockheed Martin has received a $1.1 million contract from the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Center for test and evaluation of its next-generation HULC, an advanced robotic exoskeleton, designed to augment soldiers' strength and endurance, as well as reduce load carriage injuries. Under this contract, the Army will test Lockheed's advanced ruggedized HULC design, which includes optimized control software, extended battery life and human factors improvements for quicker and easier sizing to each user.

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