X

At SRI, bomb-disabling robots go mini (photos)

Road Trip at Home: At SRI International, miniaturization is key, including remote robots for disarming bombs, and tiny satellites.

New_CNET_profile_picture.jpg
New_CNET_profile_picture.jpg

Daniel Terdiman

See full bio
tAURUS_sTANFORD.JPG
1 of 8 SRI International

Taurus

MENLO PARK, Calif.--At SRI International, innovation has long been the goal. This is the place where the computer mouse was born, where the first Internet connection happened, and where the first wireless communications were initiated. It's also home to wall-climbing robots and much more.

So it should come as no surprise that it is a place where research in one area evolves into products in others.

Shown here is Taurus, a miniature remote-controlled robot designed to disarm bombs for the military and police departments. The technology behind it was originally developed for large-scale remote surgical robots. But over the years SRI's researchers have steadily reduced the size of that robotic technology, and today Taurus is just 14 inches shoulder to shoulder. Now it allows those who dismantel bombs to remotely, and without risk to themselves, take apart explosives.

Taurus.jpg
2 of 8 SRI International

Taurus from the side

This side view of Taurus gives a better sense of its size.
CubeSat.jpg
3 of 8 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

CubeSat

SRI has been working with California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo on this miniaturized satellite. Known as CubeSat, the system is a 10-centimeter cube that can be launched into space at a fraction of the cost of a traditional satellite payload.

While there are small-scale satellite projects like this throughout the world, SRI says it can advance the field of such satellite operations due to its ability to work on communications networking systems, and to design CubeSat projects for partners as diverse as the U.S. Air Force, universities, and the National Science Foundation.

The CubeSat can be outfitted with all kinds of networking equipment and any number of sensors, so long as they can fit inside. SRI has even developed a tiny propulsion system that can allow CubeSats to control their movements in space. They can be launched in groups, and work in tandem, or be spread out over hundreds or thousands of miles in space to create wide mesh networks. And all for tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars, rather than millions.

CubeSat_enclosure.jpg
4 of 8 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

CubeSat enclosure

This is the enclosure for CubeSat. The box, which was designed at CalPoly, can hold up to three of the tiny satellites. It is designed to protect the other equipment on a launch vehicle, which could potentially cost many millions of dollars, rather than the CubeSats themselves, which are relatively inexpensive.
CubeSat_enclosure_straight-on.jpg
5 of 8 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

CubeSat enclosure front view

A frontal view of the CubeSat enclosure. The spring inside that is used to push out the tiny satellites is visible.
iom_screen_capture_1.jpg
6 of 8 SRI International

Iris matching

This is a screenshot showing the iris-scanning technology of SRI's Iris on the Move system.
PassPort_system.jpg
7 of 8 SRI International

Iris on the Move PassPort system

This is SRI's Iris on the Move system. It is designed to scan people's irises to match them against a database of known persons who, for example, work in a secure building or who travel through an airport. Irises are said to provide better identity matching than fingerprints. The system can handle about 30 people a minute, so long as each person is already in the database.
IOM_outdoor_Glance.jpg
8 of 8 SRI International

Outdoor Glance

This is SRI's Iris on the Move Outdoor Glance system, which can be set up outdoors to provide a more mobile system.

More Galleries

2022's Best TV Shows You Can't Miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and More

More Galleries

2022's Best TV Shows You Can't Miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and More

95 Photos
Movies Coming in 2022 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More

More Galleries

Movies Coming in 2022 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More

81 Photos
The 40 Absolute Best Games on Nintendo Switch

More Galleries

The 40 Absolute Best Games on Nintendo Switch

41 Photos
The Dodge Hornet SUV Will Be a Rebadged Alfa Romeo Tonale

More Galleries

The Dodge Hornet SUV Will Be a Rebadged Alfa Romeo Tonale

8 Photos
'Stranger Things' Stars Then and Now: Wow, They've Really Grown Up

More Galleries

'Stranger Things' Stars Then and Now: Wow, They've Really Grown Up

40 Photos
2022 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS Coupe: Just Right

More Galleries

2022 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS Coupe: Just Right

36 Photos
The 51 Best VR Games

More Galleries

The 51 Best VR Games

53 Photos