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Images: Robots that do a soldier's work

These machines--some of which are already in use in Iraq--help keep Army personnel out of harm's way.

Robots that do a soldier's work

iRobot's PackBot EOD is designed to dispose of explosive military gear, such as weapons and ammunition. Other tasks that the PackBot is meant to handle include hostage rescue, search and surveillance, and dealing with hazardous materials. The briefcase-like device at left is the PackBot's operator control unit.

Credit: iRobot

PackBot EOD

Robots that do a soldier's work

An unmanned robot like the one pictured here is being used in Iraq and Afghanistan to detect mines and explosives.

Credit: U.S. Army

Unmanned robot

Robots that do a soldier's work

A bot goes on patrol with Spc. Randall Archie, a U.S. Army MARC Bot operator who navigates the robot along a road in Baghdad.

Credit: Sgt. Christina Rockhill

Bots on patrol

Robots that do a soldier's work

A young NASCAR fan chats with a robotic soldier in the Army's interactive display at the Daytona 500. A hidden microphone on the robot allows a man positioned a short distance away to talk to the NASCAR fan through the robot.

Credit: U.S. Army Spc. Lorie Jewell

NASCAR fan chats

Robots that do a soldier's work

The machine in the foreground is a multifunctional advance remote control (MARC) bot. Here, it's being used by a soldier of Company A, 91st Engineer Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division, as part of a search patrol through the streets of Baghdad for improvised explosive devices. The $3,000 robot has all-terrain wheels and a retractable arm with a camera.

Credit: U.S. Army Sgt. Christina Rockhill

MARC bot

Robots that do a soldier's work

These robots from Foster-Miller are designed for disposal of explosive materials, reconnaissance, communications, sensing, security, defense and rescue. According to the company, the robots--which are called Talon--can navigate most terrains and can be configured with M240 or M249 machine guns.

Credit: Foster-Miller

Foster-Miller bots

Robots that do a soldier's work

With a weapons platform mounted to a Talon robot, this SWORDS system allows soldiers to fire small weapons by remote control from as far away as 1,000 meters. The system was demonstrated in December at the bienniel Army Science Conference, with hopes that it might soon join soldiers in Iraq.

Credit: U.S. Army Sgt. Lorie Jewell

SWORDS system

Robots that do a soldier's work

iRobot's SUGV is part of the federal government's $127 billion Future Combat Systems project. The machine's design evolved from that of the company's PackBot EOD, the company says.

Credit: iRobot

iRobot SUGV

Robots that do a soldier's work

A police robot hands a piece of communications equipment to the driver of a red van at the scene of a standoff between the van's driver and police, one block from the White House. The driver, who was involved in a domestic dispute, had reportedly threatened to blow up 15 gallons of gasoline that was in the van if he did not get his child back.

Credit: Reuters

Police robot