Minister for Defence Science and Personnel – New system has a grip on improvised explosives

A prototype bomb disposal system providing operators a realistic ‘grasp and feel’ of remote objects could become a vital capability to protect Australian troops during operations.

Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, Warren Snowdon, said the new robotic arm to counter improvised explosive devices relies on haptics (or touch feedback) and could potentially be employed by the ADF to safeguard troops or perform battlefield surveillance.

The Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) and Deakin University signed a licence agreement today to further develop the technology to a standard suitable for future Australian Defence Force consideration.

“The haptic arm system allows operators to remotely grasp and feel the weight and texture of objects in real time and improves their awareness of the situation to take appropriate action,” Minister Snowdon said.

“Remotely operated robots fitted with the haptic arm system could also be employed in civilian environments to safely remove or neutralise hazardous materials.”

Chief Defence Scientist Dr Alex Zelinsky said the licence agreement allows Deakin University to engage commercial partners to manufacture and distribute the technology and other haptic systems.

“This licence agreement is the capstone of a thorough development and evaluation process that has produced technology of potential benefit to Defence.

“Our collaboration provides another opportunity to showcase how DSTO and universities can jointly mature new technologies in support of Defence,” Dr Zelinsky said.

The mobile robotic platform incorporating the haptically enabled arm was adapted from an existing chassis design developed by Deakin University.

The technology was further developed as part of the DSTO administered Defence Capability and Technology Demonstrator extension program to increase fidelity and reduce potential for operator fatigue.

Media contacts:

Minister Snowdon’s Office: Lidija Ivanovski (02) 6277 7820 or 0407 108 935

Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999


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