Feeds

Robot pirate invented in USA: 'Yarr-2 D-2'?

'Marsupial' shot-bot has one eye, clambers up ships' sides

Build a business case: developing custom apps

An American firm has developed a cunning, beercan-sized robot which can be shot out of a gun, stick to the side of a ship magnetically, and then climb up the ship's side in the fashion of a pirate with a knife or cutlass between his teeth.

Developers Recon Robotics insist that the droid buccaneer is actually intended for anti-pirate operations in which the robot boarding party would only be used against ships which had previously been captured by swashbuckling seaborne freebooters.

The new pirate-punisher spy droid is to be developed from the firm's well-known "Throwbot", designed to be hurled through windows, over walls etc and then trundle about spying out the situation using its infrared see-in-the-dark camera – whose imagery is relayed back to the operator's handset. Regular Throwbots have already been ordered by the US Army, and by the famous yet secretive US Navy SEAL special-ops frogman-commandos.

"We believe that this micro-robot platform could help mitigate maritime piracy threats and protect the lives of naval personnel and anti-piracy teams," says Alan Bignall, ReconRobotics head honcho. "We hope to ... further develop this robot and quickly bring it and the marsupial robot deployment system to market. In the future this system might also include other payloads and sensors which would increase its versatility and expand its mission profile."

According to the company the enhanced maritime Throwbot will not be enhanced only by the fitment of magnetic climbing wheels:

The marsupial robot deployment system ... enables an operator of a large robot to automatically transport and deploy a smaller robot downrange using a customized, ejectable sabot. This system could be particularly useful in reconnaissance, [bomb disposal] and [Hazardous materials] applications.

A "sabot" in this sense means a housing or case designed to let something be shot out of a gun or launcher. The sabot then usually falls off to let the something fly free. The complete system would seem to involve a pirate Throwbot being shot out of a small gun, cannon or similar mounted aboard a larger recce robot such as a Fire Scout droid-chopper or perhaps an unmanned boat. Having adhered magnetically to the target vessel's side or upper works, the small probe machine could then prowl about and find out the location of any pirates, hostaged crew members etc.

It would also, of course, be pretty useful to just about anyone planning to storm a ship, even to pirates themselves. Pirates actually carry out many more boardings than anti-pirate forces do, so they might in fact represent a bigger market – particularly as more shipping companies are putting armed security guards aboard vessels transiting near the buccaneer coasts of the Horn of Africa.

On the other hand, Recon Robotics are developing the new marsupial ship-scrambling shot-bot in cooperation with the US Navy's boffinry labs, so maybe not.

These considerations aside, for the moment the robot remains officially nameless. We would naturally suggest that it should be called "Yarr-2 D-2" or similar. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency
Experiment aboard ISS shows we should all chill out for cleaner engines
Brit amateur payload set to complete full circle around PLANET EARTH
Ultralight solar radio tracker in glorious 25,000km almost-space odyssey
NASA Mars rover FINALLY equals 1973 Soviet benchmark
Yet to surpass ancient Greek one, however
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.