In the next few years, it is expected that both Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs) will be become more integrated into domestic markets. How do UGVs and UAVs compare in this military-to-civilian transition? While clearly there are some significant differences between the way UAVs and UGVs will be deployed, there also some similarities. Read about it here.

Why are there more unmanned platforms than customers?

Why are unmanned systems developers offering so many different kinds of platforms and ideas, when there is comparatively little demand by the civilian market? Why are there more offerings than customers?

These questions were raised in the Unmanned Systems group in LinkedIn. It provoked a number of insightful comments about the current state of unmanned systems and its future. If you are a member of LinkedIn, and can log in, you can read the discussion here. Read more

What does Reversibility mean for the Defense industry?

What does Reversibility mean for the Defense industry?  On January 5, the new U.S. Defense Strategic Guidance was released.  Much attention was paid to the following:

US Dept of defense“DoD will manage the force in ways that protect its ability to regenerate capabilities that might be needed to meet future, unforeseen demands, maintaining intellectual capital and rank structure that could be called upon to expand key elements of the force.”

This line of thinking can be described as “ reversibility, ” a buzzword that has assumed prominence among those vendors who are trying to navigate the planned drawdowns and future budget cuts.  “Reversibility” acknowledges the overwhelming historical evidence that we have a rotten track record of preparing for the next war, and we need to be able to change course as the situation warrants. Read more

Tablets rule, for now

It may be hard to remember all the way back to 2010, but when the iPad was first introduced, no one was sure if the public would actually adopt it.  “People already have a smartphone and a laptop,” ran a common refrain, “What’s the point of another mobile form factor?”

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The Death of Keyboards & the Japanese Experience

Are keyboards dead?  In view of their ubiquity, and proven usefulness, this may seem to be an absurd question, but some people are considering this possibility. The success of the keyboard-less iPad in penetrating the business market was one of 2011’s big surprises. Also, in an interview in the IEEE Spectrum, journalist Sally Wiener-Grotta noted the impressive number of stylus interfaces on display at the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES). She even cites studies that claim that when we use handwriting input, “… we absorb information better and we express information better…” Read more

Telepresence: The killer app for robots? UPDATE

 Update: This telepresence article inspired more than a few comments in LinkedIn discussion groups.  With the authors’ permission, we are reposting comments made by Tandy Trower of Hoaloha Robotics, and Jim Gunderson of Gamma Two Robots.

“For certain types of scenarios, telepresence is very useful. For example, it has enabled us to explore the surface of Mars, inspect the nuclear reactor buildings in Japan, and enable soldiers to remotely defuse bombs. However, for business and personal/consumer scenarios it is much less clear if the value proposition works. Read more

Is There a Robot in the House?

robot_housecleaner_275Here we are, well into the second decade of a new millennium, and not only is there a conspicuous absence of jet packs, but also no robot butler made my breakfast this morning.  Domestic robots are not completely unknown, of course.  There’s the famous vacuuming Roomba, and home-based medical robots are starting to appear.  Yet, while robots are ubiquitous in industry, and rapidly expanding in the military sphere, their presence in our homes is minimal. Read more

The Unmanned Farmer

Farms grow more than just food.  For the last couple of years, one of the biggest crops has been unmanned systems. Click here to read about it.

Unmanned Commercial Domestic Flights: Expert vs. Expert

Airplane1 resized 600One of the hottest topics in the unmanned systems community is civilian applications. As reports in Drones Ready for Takeoff:

“The potential seems limitless—handling routine monitoring of pipelines and power lines, for instance, or gathering geomagnetic data about natural resources (a job that entails flying hundreds of miles in a straight line, at low altitude, then moving 50 yards over and flying straight back). Drones could help farmers monitor crops in distant fields, allow real estate developers to perform simple construction jobs in remote or difficult locations or enable environmentalists to spot polluters.”

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Robot Renaissance: Is Money Enough?

TrobotMoneyhere’s nothing quite like the prospect of a half of a billion dollars to get the blood pumping, the brain scheming, and the pundits pontificating. The President’s ambitious Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP), which includes $70 million for robots, may not revive the American manufacturing sector, but it certainly has provided fodder for the technology media. Read more