WASHINGTON -- Harris Corp., known for its radios and communications equipment, had a surprising piece of technology at its booth at the Association of the US Army's annual convention Monday.
While robots that do Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) are nothing new, the T7 EOD robot, designed to disarm improvised explosive devices like car bombs, is so intuitive to use even a reporter can learn how to operate the arm on the robot in a matter of minutes.
The controller looks like the back end of a gun making it easy to hold, and is hooked to sensors that transfer information to the robotic arm on the T7.
The robot can also be armed with a water disruptor used to disengage a trigger, according to a video playing behind the T7's display.
Harris has been developing robotics for a long time behind the scenes for mostly classified customers, Paul Bosscher, the company's chief engineer for robotics systems, told Defense News.
The robot was designed based on the input from hundreds of users, according to Harris.
"Its highly intuitive interface redefines ease of use with dynamic force feedback," Harris said in a statement. This means if the arm hits the ground or an object, the user holding the control can feel that too, which improves the dexterity of the system.
Cameras on the controller increase the accuracy from a broad range to an overhead, up-close range.
Harris is running a competition throughout AUSA where journalists are timed using the robot to perform a task. Defense News' Jen Judson led the leader board with a time of 2:43 at the start of the show. Game on.
Jen Judson is the land warfare reporter for Defense News. She has covered defense in the Washington area for 10 years. She was previously a reporter at Politico and Inside Defense. She won the National Press Club's best analytical reporting award in 2014 and was named the Defense Media Awards' best young defense journalist in 2018.