New Recon Scout Throwable Robot Can Climb Ship Hulls, Spy on Pirates

The latest version of the Recon Scout uses magnetic wheels to drive vertically up the sides of ships

1 min read
New Recon Scout Throwable Robot Can Climb Ship Hulls, Spy on Pirates

We’re already familiar with ReconRobotic’s line of throwable surveillance robots, and they’ve just announced a new model, pictured above. Or rather, they’ve announced an entirely new capability for the little robot: it can now drive straight up vertical metal surfaces with the aid of some magical magnetic wheels, check it out:

Specifically, this capability is designed for anti-piracy operations, where pirates have already taken over a ship and you want to take a look around before sending people on board to take it back. Recon Scout can be placed on the hull of a ship, where it’ll drive straight up to the deck and send back live video, even in total darkness thanks to IR illuminators.

There’s also mention of a “novel marsupial-robot system” that “enables an operator of a large robot to automatically transport and deploy a smaller robot downrange using a customized, ejectable sabot.” While I’m picturing a robotic speedboat firing a Recon Scout out of some sort of cannon at the side of a ship several miles away, the reality is probably something a little more like this, where a large robot can carry and deploy a smaller robot using a little garage of sorts. In any case, I’m looking forward to a few more details on that, and who knows, maybe it is a cannon that fires robots out of it... A guy can dream, can’t he?

[ ReconRobotics ]

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The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

12 min read
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A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof
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In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

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