'Transformer' gun-bot hits showroom floor

SWORDS robot maker releases new, heavy-duty "Transformer model."

Foster-Miller

Based on the apparent premise that bigger is better, the company that makes the SWORDS gun-toting robot has introduced a plumper version called MAARS, or Modular Advanced Armed Robotic System.

Foster-Miller is pitching MAARS as its "Transformer model." Presto--watch it "literally 'transforming' from a remote weapons platform for force protection to Improvised Explosive Device (IED) identification and neutralization tool."

It takes some wrenching, but the modular design robotic platform can clear the souk with its turret-mounted M240B Medium Machine Gun, then quickly transform to bomb-disposal duty with an attachable arm and gripper.

And while it tips the scales at a chunky 350 pounds, it still outmaneuvers its 100-pound SWORDS predecessor, according to the company.

There are other improvements as well. The new model can lift up to 100 pounds, has easy battery and electronics access, is faster and has "improved breaking."

These things have been around since early 2000, so they're bound to start showing up at DRMO surplus sales any time now. Someone just needs to come up with an after-market mower/sewer-snake attachment, and we can get out of the blog business.

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