Wednesday, January 23, 2008

ASC enabling next-gen robotics?

it’s a potentially game-changing partnership. “We get our robot mad scientists together with the laser mad scientists…I believe its going to be transformational for the robot field,”

... and if Helen Greiner is excited, so am I.

She's the Chairman and Co-founder of iRobot, not the Will Smith adventure movie, the Burlington, MA based robotics firm supplying our Armed Forces with hundreds, and probably thousands, of bomb-disposal robots over the next several years.

The "game-changing" partnership is with Advanced Scientific Concepts (ASC) of Santa Barbara, CA. ASC makes a laser camera that will allow robots to "see" more effectively, mapping areas with a single laser flash.

Greiner and iRobot believe this will enable robots to make navigation decisions in near-real-time and facilitate much more advanced applications (she's picturing unmanned HUMVEEs, tanks... NYC cabs... you get the point)

"they're not on robots yet"... and I guess that's the sticky point, because you've still got to design the Artificial Intelligence, the "brain" that enables a bunch of nuts and bolts to utilize this great set of "eyes".

At least with all the money the Army is spending to procure the iRobot FCS SUGV, the company should be able to fund a bunch more R&D. We're looking forward.