DSEI 2017

Haptic robot feels as it moves [DSEI17D1]

12 September 2017

Fresh on the back of bagging a coveted award to provide its T7 explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) for the UK MoD’s Project Starter, Harris Corporation (Stand N5-120) is seeking other opportunities for the robot as terrorism and improvised explosive device (IED) use continue to spread worldwide.

It was announced in late August that Harris Corporation had been selected against a number of other competitors for the Starter contract, which will see it provide an as yet undisclosed number of T7 UGVs to the UK.

The 342kg robot incorporates haptic feedback into the controls, so the operator can feel the impact of what the arm does, and the UGV can also mimic the arm movement of the operator in order to carry out tasks. ‘‘The gripper moves how I move, and I feel how it feels,’’ said Paul Bosscher, chief engineer for robotic systems at Harris Corporation. This is a feature that has been studied for some time, but was yet to be introduced into a fieldable system until now, he noted. ‘‘We’ve put a lot of research and technology development into the sensors, algorithms and user interface,’’ he recalled. ‘‘It was quite a hard nut to crack.’’

The T7 can be reconfigured with different attachments to carry out various missions, but as far as the MoD contract is concerned, it is expected to just be utilised for the EOD application. ‘‘The UK is at the forefront of robotic technology, particularly when it comes to explosive ordnance disposal,’’ said Bosscher. ‘‘The UK has been dealing with terrorism in some form or fashion longer than most countries in the world have, and so as a side effect the UK has been interested in getting the very best capability to deal with these threats.’’

He added that there are many countries facing the threat of terrorism, and a lot are interested in following the UK’s lead.

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