New gear for robot whisperers

Two-way hailers available for Talon robots.

Put your hands up and step away from the Improvised Nuclear Device. QinetiQ

Talon military and first-responder robots can now be equipped with two-way hailers, which enable operators to "listen" and "speak" with their robo-counterparts--in "high fidelity" no less.

The hailer--which can be interchanged from one robot to another--provides secure encrypted two-way wireless audio communications between a Talon robot and its operator at up to 2,600 feet away, according to manufacturer QinetiQ .

Two-way conversations can take place from whisper mode up to loud. And if that doesn't get the message across, there's the 120-decibel siren. For soothing the raging beast on the other side of the barricade or to wile away those protracted standoffs, there's a jack to connect an MP3 player or laptop, which allows you to share your taste in music.

"We feel our new, two-way hailer will be particularly useful for military checkpoints, building clearance, barricaded suspects, hostage negotiations and emergency evacuations, in short any situation where there's a need for urgent, two-way communication that might need to be whispered or shouted," said William Ribich, president of QinetiQ North America's Technology Solutions Group.

A number of systems have already been delivered to SWAT teams in Texas and Florida.

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    The military establishment's ever increasing reliance on technology and whiz-bang gadgetry impacts us as consumers, investors, taxpayers and ultimately as the defended. Our mission here is to bring some of these products and concepts to your attention based on carefully selected criteria such as importance to national security, originality, collateral damage to the treasury and adaptability to yard maintenance-but not necessarily in that order. E-mail him at markr@milapp.com. Disclosure.

     

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