Mobile Robots Take on New Chores

 
 
By Peter Coffee  |  Posted 2004-02-23 Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Wireless links and cheap processing power make mobile robots increasingly practical for industry and public-safety applications.

Wireless links and cheap processing power make mobile robots increasingly practical for industry and public-safety applications.

Originally inspired by the fictional R2-D2 "droid" of the "Star Wars" movies, iRobot co-founder Helen Greiner now equips U.S. troops in Iraq with battlefield-grade PackBot units that can be thrown through a window to explore a potentially booby-trapped building.

Using technologies shared with the companys consumer-sector Roomba vacuum cleaner, the $45,000 PackBot appeared in a video accompanying Greiners keynote speech at the OReilly Emerging Technology Conference this month in San Diego.

 
 
 
 
Peter Coffee is Director of Platform Research at salesforce.com, where he serves as a liaison with the developer community to define the opportunity and clarify developers' technical requirements on the company's evolving Apex Platform. Peter previously spent 18 years with eWEEK (formerly PC Week), the national news magazine of enterprise technology practice, where he reviewed software development tools and methods and wrote regular columns on emerging technologies and professional community issues.Before he began writing full-time in 1989, Peter spent eleven years in technical and management positions at Exxon and The Aerospace Corporation, including management of the latter company's first desktop computing planning team and applied research in applications of artificial intelligence techniques. He holds an engineering degree from MIT and an MBA from Pepperdine University, he has held teaching appointments in computer science, business analytics and information systems management at Pepperdine, UCLA, and Chapman College.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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