An oddly heartwarming robotics story

‘Oddly’ because it’s about the 3,500-odd robots being used in Afghanistan to probe for IEDs, clear mines and scout in advance. Instead of being discarded when mal/non-functioning (750 have been lost in combat situations), even in bits, many are now sent to the ‘hospital’ at Bagram AFB to be fixed up by ‘doctors’…er, techs. Techs, soldiers and Marines like the robots and as we’ve seen elsewhere, a certain amount of personification takes place even though the robots’ fate may be total destruction in saving human lives. Cited in the article: the ‘Devil Pup’ (so-named by the Marines, a/k/a Devil Dogs), the PackBot and the droppable FirstLook, all from iRobot (better known for the Roomba); Honeywell’s T-Robot used in ordnance disposal and QinetiQ’s Talon. How does this relate to health? Advances in extreme circumstances will translate to technology advances for robots in hospitals, LTC and homes. In the Afghan War, a Little Robot Can Be a Soldier’s Best Friend (The Wall Street Journal) Slideshow