Novint Technologies, Inc. has been awarded a subcontract with iRobot Corp. for a military robotics project funded by the Secretary of Defense Joint Ground Robotics Enterprise through the Robotics Technology Consortium (RTC).
The arrangement calls for Novint to co-develop a Remote Touch Kit (RTK) for iRobot's PackBot line of military-grade unmanned ground vehicles. Thre goal is to provide soldier operators the ability to experience force and tactile sensing when operating the PackBot from a distance.
According to a press release announcing the subcontract, the RTK will allow soldiers to feel how hard the PackBot's "gripper" squeezes an object, safely pick up and handle fragile objects, and feel when the robot's arm touches a wire or reaches a movement limit.
The soldiers will also receive tactile feedback as the robot drives across uneven terrain.
Novint expects the use of the RTK to result in reduced task times and operator burden, increased dexterity and situational awareness, and reduced training.
"As demand for unmanned military robots continues to grow, Novint's touch technology will play a crucial role in enhancing operator control during mission-tasks such as bomb disposal or surveillance," said Tom Anderson, CEO of Novint Technologies.
Novint is the developer of the Novint Falcon, a game controller designed to that let users experience realistic 3D touch and force feedback when playing touch-enabled games.