AUVSI: RedHawk robotic arm gets a grip on IEDs

Las Vegas
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Harris (booth 2846) has revealed its new RedHawk system, a robotic arm that can be fitted to existing ground robots to fight against improvised explosive devices.

The arm uses haptic feedback to let operators "feel" what they are doing as they manipulate and disarm IEDs, said Paul Bosscher, the chief technologist for robotic systems at the company's Government Communications Systems division.

"The basic idea is to give the robot humanlike manipulation, humanlike range of motion and dexterity, as well as a sense of touch," Bosscher said.

The 6-degree-of-freedom arm can fit to iRobot PackBots, QinetiQ Talons and other platforms, and can stow on their backs. The company also has future systems in mind, such as the Advanced Explosive Ordnance Disposal Robotic System program, a planned family of ground robots.

RedHawk has been in development for about three years, and the version on display is the third iteration, finished only weeks ago.

"This system was designed with inputs from hundreds of EOD operators that we've taken this to," Bosscher says. "Every iteration we would make a prototype, take it to end users, say tell us what you like, tell us what you hate. How can this system meet your needs better?"