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New system has a grip on improvised explosives

30 April 2013
Media Release
A picture of the haptically enabled arm developed by Deakin University.
The haptically enabled arm developed by Deakin University.

A prototype bomb disposal system providing operators a realistic grasp and feel of remote objects could become a vital capability to protect Australian troops during operations.

The haptically enabled arm developed by Deakin University, Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, Warren Snowdon said, the new robotic arm to counter improvised explosive devices relies on haptics (or touch feedback) and could potentially be employed by the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to safeguard troops or perform battlefield surveillance.

The Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) and Deakin University signed a licence agreement today to further develop the technology to a standard suitable for future ADF consideration.

"The haptic arm system allows operators to remotely grasp and feel the weight and texture of objects in real time and improves their awareness of the situation to take appropriate action," Minister Snowdon said.

"Remotely operated robots fitted with the haptic arm system could also be employed in civilian environments to safely remove or neutralise hazardous materials."

Chief Defence Scientist Dr Alex Zelinsky said the licence agreement allows Deakin University to engage commercial partners to manufacture and distribute the technology and other haptic systems.

"This licence agreement is the capstone of a thorough development and evaluation process that has produced technology of potential benefit to Defence."

"Our collaboration provides another opportunity to showcase how DSTO and universities can jointly mature new technologies in support of Defence," Dr Zelinsky said.

The mobile robotic platform incorporating the haptically enabled arm was adapted from an existing chassis design developed by Deakin University.

The technology was further developed as part of the DSTO administered Defence Capability and Technology Demonstrator extension program to increase fidelity and reduce potential for operator fatigue.

 

Contacts

MEDIA CONTACTS:

  • MINISTER SNOWDON'S OFFICE: - Lidija Ivanovski (02) 6277 7820 or 0407 108 935
  • DEFENCE MEDIA OPERATIONS: - (02) 6127 1999