Monday, September 22, 2008

Singapore's Military Robot Contest

Popular Mechanics gets a sneak peak at the robot showdown contest organised by Singapore's Defence Science & Technology Agency (DSTA). From Popular Mechanics:
The six teams participating on Sunday are sponsored mainly by Singapore universities, and half of them plan to compete with off-the-shelf robots developed by iRobot. Evolution's Uni-Seeker is based on ATRV Junior, a small robot designed in the early 1990s for research purposes. Ge's X-1 team, which consists of students and staff from the National University of Singapore and the Institute for Infocomm Research, and FANTASTICFOUR, another team from NTU, will both enter modified versions of PackBot, which has been successfully deployed in places like Afghanistan, where it clears caves, searches bunkers and crosses minefields. SP Freiburg, a joint effort by Singapore Polytechnic and the University of Freiburg in Germany, uses a modified German-built teleMAX robot, which is normally a remote-controlled machine that disables explosives. But Toh's AZROBOWAR team built its bot from scratch. The team is not affiliated with a university and is composed of friends who worked on the project in their spare time. TP Robotics, from Temasek Polytechnic, also built its robot from the ground up.

Although not a guarantee, it's a distinct possibility that one of the teams will be able to emerge from Sunday's contest with a lucrative government contract. "We've already identified certain technologies we want to explore with some of the teams," says DSTA spokeswoman Isabelle Lee.

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