Crazy. Pentagon is Ordering 1,100 Micro-robots for $13.9 million!

I was looking around on Mashable, and I came accross this article published just a couple hours ago.  Wow.

Less than a month after the U.S. Army ordered 1,100 micro-robots for $13.9 million, the Department of Defense placed a $1 million order for lightweight robots from iRobot Corp., it was announced Tuesday.

The order came from the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO), which operates under the umbrella of the DOD. The purpose of the organization is to detect and eliminate IED threats. It ordered 105 FirstLook robots for $1.5 million — iRobot’s first “significant order” of the small bots.

Throw ‘em, drop ‘em, kick ‘em — these robots can take a beating. The iRobot 110 FirstLook weighs five pounds. It can be dropped from 15 feet and climb over obstacles up to seven inches high. The robot also corrects itself should it flip over. It is equipped with four cameras to survey from all angles.

To help protect soldiers, the robots can survey rooftops, go through houses and peer around corners, plus provide intelligence and clear the path in numerous other dangerous scenarios.

As badass as these robots are, the order also amounts to a hefty sum of taxpayer dollars. At $12,636 per micro-robot, the U.S. Army got a better deal last month than the JIEDDO did more recently. The JIEDDO order breaks down to about $14,285 per FirstLook robot.

Mashable reached out to iRobot and the DOD to find out more about these machines, and we’ll let you know what we hear back.

Robots can save lives in more ways than one — from military operations to nanorobotics being developed with the hope of curing cancer. Some critics, however, say these advances could also lead to human extinction.

But for now, such technological advances can decrease human fatalities in combat. They can also break world records.

What do you think about the U.S. using robots in combat? Share your opinions below.

Image courtesy of iRobot Corp. “

I cannot believe how crazy robotic technology continues to change.  There is also a video at: http://mashable.com/2012/03/06/pentagon_building_robot_army/ on their site as well.  This may not be quite related to press release distribution or 24-7PressRelease.com, (which is why I have put it under Coffee Break), however the article is still quite interesting and worth the share!  🙂

 

Article

 

Unique Industrial Emissions Analyzer Simultaneously Measures CO, CO2, H2O and O2 in Real Time

Rugged trace gas analyzer simultaneously measures four key components that characterize combustion emissions from industrial plants: carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), water (H2O) and oxygen (O2).

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA, March 06, 2012  — A new instrument from Los Gatos Research (LGR), the leader in precision trace gas analyzers, is the first to enable comprehensive monitoring of industrial combustion processes for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compliance and other purposes. Specifically, the Industrial Emissions Analyzer (CO, CO2, H2O, O2) can precisely and simultaneously measure all key combustion products (carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, water vapor and oxygen). This product launch follows the EPA’s release of the first comprehensive survey of GHGs emitted from major industrial facilities in the U.S.

The new Industrial Emissions Analyzer (CO, CO2, H2O, O2), or IEA, measures each gas independently with practically zero crosstalk (or cross sensitivity) between the four components, or with other trace gases, such as unburned hydrocarbons. The IEA also features rugged packaging, automated operation, and Ethernet connectivity which make it ideal for portable operation as well as remote, unmanned operation over extended periods in inaccessible locations and/or challenging operating conditions. Two models are currently offered: a Standard model with total uncertainty less than 1%, and an Enhanced Performance (EP) version with total uncertainty less than 0.03% of measured mole fractions over the entire range of operating temperatures from 0 to 45 degrees C.
The IEA accurately corrects for water vapor dilution and spectroscopic effects and thus directly reports CO, CO2 and O2 on a dry mole basis without drying or other treatment of the emissions gas mixture. This is unlike older conventional technologies (including photoacoustic, FTIR, NDIR, GC), which cannot deliver these measurements without sample pretreatment. This new Industrial Emissions Analyzer (CO, CO2, H2O, O2) also delivers much higher dynamic range for all four gases as compared to any other real-time measurement technology, so sample concentration or dilution is not required.

LGR President Dr. Doug Baer notes, “Our new Industrial Emissions Analyzer was developed to help improve production and manufacturing efficiencies of energy intensive industries including power plants, refineries and other major GHG emitters as summarized recently by the US EPA. Reliable monitoring of large industrial emitters like power plants and chemical production plants and refineries cannot be achieved simply by calculation and self-reporting. Plant owners, monitoring agencies and other stakeholders need objective, reliable measurements in order to improve efficiencies now more than ever.”

LGR precision gas analyzers are based on the company’s patented Off-Axis Integrated Cavity Output Spectroscopy (OA-ICOS) technology, a fourth generation, cavity-enhanced laser absorption technique. This unique approach is both more rugged and more precise than earlier cavity-enhanced techniques, such as conventional cavity ringdown spectroscopy (CRDS), because the performance of OA-ICOS does not need ultra-precise alignment or sub nanometer stability of its optics, or a high degree of thermal control. This ensures higher absolute accuracy, longer maintenance intervals, higher reliability and lowest cost of ownership.

LGR (www.LGRinc.com) makes the world’s most precise, rugged and reliable instruments for measurements of trace gases and isotopes. LGR instruments have been deployed by scientists for acquiring the most accurate measurements possible on all seven continents, in unmanned aerial vehicles, in mobile laboratories, on research and commercial aircraft, and in undersea vehicles.

Today In History – March 6, 2012

1646 – We go waaaay back in time to when Joseph Jenkes of Massachusetts received the first machine patent. Trouble was, though he had patent in hand, he didn’t quite have a clue as to just what machine he patented, since there were no machines back then. His supposed reply to getting the patent, anyway, was, “Hey! Thanks!” 1808 – The first college orchestra was founded — at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA. So, strike up the band today!

1941 – Les Hite and his orchestra recorded The World is Waiting for the Sunrise on Bluebird Records. The instrumental became Hite’s most popular work. A decade later, Les Paul and Mary Ford added a vocal to the tune, making it one of their biggest-selling hit songs.

1947 – The USS The Newport News was launched from a shipbuilding yard at Newport News, VA. It was the first air-conditioned naval ship.

1948 – Ralph Edwards created a quiz on radio’s Truth or Consequences called The Walking Man. After ten weeks of guesses by contestants playing the game, it was finally revealed that Jack Benny was The Walking Man.

1962 – Frank Sinatra recorded his final session for Capitol Records in Hollywood. Sinatra had been recording for his own record label, Reprise, for two years. His final side on Capitol was I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues, with Skip Martin’s orchestra.

1964 – Tom O’Hara ran the mile in 3 minutes, 56.4 seconds, setting a world indoor record in Chicago, IL. And he still didn’t beat that speedy dromedary.

1976 – The Waylon & Willie (Jennings and Nelson) song, Good Hearted Woman, started the last of three weeks at the top of the country music charts. Waylon and Willie wrote the song in 1969 during a poker game in Ft. Worth, TX. According to Jennings, “I’d been reading an ad for Ike and Tina Turner and it said, ‘Tina Turner singing songs about good-hearted women loving good-timing men.’ I thought, ‘What a great country song title that is!’” He was mighty correct, y’all.

1981 – Walter Cronkite, the dean of American television newscasters, said “And that’s the way it is” for the final time, as he closed the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite. An audience estimated at 17,000,000 viewers saw ‘the most trusted man in America’ sign-off. Cronkite retired after more than 30 years in broadcasting. He was replaced by Dan Rather at the anchor desk.

1982 – The most points scored by two teams in the National Basketball Association made history. San Antonio beat Milwaukee 171-166 in three overtime periods to set the mark.

1983 – The United States Football League began its first season of pro football competition. Fans didn’t support the new spring league opposition to the National Football League and, as a result, team names such as the Bandits, Breakers, Blitz, Invaders and Wranglers were relatively short-lived. The league was forced to fold amid controversy, low fan acceptance and lower television ratings. It was not long before players began to scramble for spots in the NFL. The USFL lasted two seasons.

1985 – Yul Brynner played his famous role as the king in The King and I in his 4,500th performance in the musical. The actor, age 64, opened the successful production on Broadway in 1951.

 

NOTABLE BIRTHDAYS: 1926 – Alan Greenspan economist: chairperson: U.S. Federal Reserve Board [1987-2006]

1927 – (Leroy) Gordon Cooper U.S. astronaut: one of original seven Mercury astronauts [orbited earth 22 times aboard Faith 7 (Mercury 9): May 15, 1963]; flew on Gemini 5 [1965], set flight record of 190 hours, 55 minutes, orbiting the earth 120 times; died Oct 4, 2004

1928 – Gabriel Garcia-Marquez author: A Hundred Years of Solitude, Love in the Time of Cholera

1937 – Valentina Tereshkova-Nikolaeva Russian cosmonaut

1939 – Cookie (Octavio Victor Rivas) Rojas baseball: Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies [all-star: 1965], KC Royals [all-star: 1971-1974], SL Cardinals

1941 – Willie (Wilver Dornel) Stargell Baseball Hall-of-Famer: Pittsburgh Pirates [all-star: 1964-1966, 1971-1973, 1978/World Series: 1971, 1979: MVP/Baseball Writer’s Award: 1979/AP Male Athlete of the Year: 1979]; 475 career homers: lead N.L. twice [48: 1971, 44: 1973]; drove in 1,540 runs, scored 1,195, 2,232 hits, lifetime batting average of .282

1942 – Ben Murphy actor: The Winds of War, The Chisholms, Time Walker, Alias Smith and Jones, Yours, Mine and Ours

1944 – Mary Wilson singer: group: The Supremes: Where Did Our Love Go, Baby Love, Come See About Me, Stop! In the Name of Love, Back in My Arms Again, I Hear a Symphony, Nothing But Heartaches, You Can’t Hurry Love, You Keep Me Hanging On, My World is Empty Without You

1945 – Hugh Grundy musician: drums: group: The Zombies: She’s Not There, You Make Me Feel Good, Tell Her No, She’s Coming Home, I Want You Back Again, Time of the Seasons

1945 – Bob Trumpy football: Cincinnati; broadcaster

1947 – Kiki Dee (Pauline Matthews) singer: Don’t Go Breaking My Heart, Amoureuse, [You Don’t Know] How Glad I Am, Star

1947 – Dick Fosbury Olympic Gold Medalist and record holder: high jump [7’, 4 1/4″, 1968]; National Track & Field Hall of Famer: 1st to break 7’ indoors; invented the Fosbury Flop high jump technique

1947 – Rob Reiner Emmy Award-winning Best Supporting Actor/Comedy Series: All In the Family [1973-74, 1977-78], Postcards from the Edge, Sleepless in Seattle; director: When Harry Met Sally, This is Spinal Tap, The Princess Bride, A Few Good Men; Carl’s son

1959 – Tom Arnold actor: Roseanne, The Jackie Thomas Show, Tom, True Lies

1972 – Shaquille O’Neal basketball: Orlando Magic: NBA Rookie of the Year [1993]; LA Lakers