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Monday, June 11, 2007

Here's an interesting teddy bear!

The US military is developing a robot with a teddy bear-style head to help carry injured soldiers away from the battlefield.

The Battlefield Extraction Assist Robot (BEAR) can scoop up even the heaviest of casualties and transport them over long distances over rough terrain.

New Scientist magazine reports that the "friendly appearance" of the robot is designed to put the wounded at ease.

(I don't think the soldiers really need to be coddled like that, and frankly, if I was in a pain- and drug-induced haze, this robot might freak me out!)

The 6ft tall Bear can cross bumpy ground without toppling thanks to a combination of gyroscopes and computer controlled motors to maintain balance.

It is also narrow enough to squeeze through doorways, but can lift 135kg with its hydraulic arms in a single smooth movement, to avoid causing pain to wounded soldiers.

While the existing prototype slides its arms under its burden like a forklift, future versions will be fitted with manoeuvrable hands to gently scoop up casualties.

Sounds expensive, but helpful.

Now, if you've played Dungeons & Dragons, you might find interesting the name of the company developing this robot: Vecna Technologies. Shouldn't this BEAR robot be missing a hand and an eye?


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