IIT-B researchers make robot for military ops
A team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT-B), have designed an indigenous compact, spherical tele-operated robot that can be deployed for military purposes such as reconnaissance and search operations.
A team of two professors and five research scholars — led by Leena Vachhani, associate professor from the department of Systems and Control Engineering at IIT-B — has developed a palm-sized bot that can roll in any direction with a speed of 20 centimetres per second.
“The tele-operated robot may be deployed at hazardous, difficult and enemy-intruded areas and controlled from a safe region. The structure of the spherical robot has many advantages over conventional mobile vehicles or humanoids. The ball shape of a spherical robot enables rolling in any direction on planar surfaces. Sensors and other electronics are completely inside the shell, making it robust to collisions,” said Vachhani. The camera mounted inside the robot provides a real-time panoramic, 360-degree, visual feedback.
The robot can be easily manoeuvred and controlled using real time visual feedback from the camera with an android application, said Abhishek Gupta, assistant professor from the Mechanical Engineering department, who was also a part of the team. The researchers have recently filed for a patent for the robot.
“There is no risk of overturning and getting stuck in a collision-prone environment. It travels indoors from point to point autonomously. Outdoors, it uses GPS [global positioning systems] to navigate from point to point autonomously,’ said Vachhani, adding that application-specific sensors could be mounted on a need basis.
The robot was built with funds from the ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY), allocated to IIT-B’s National Centre of Excellence in Technology for Internal Security (NCETIS), a joint initiative between IIT-B and MietY which has 20 projects under its belt.
“The spherical robot is a low-cost surveillance system in comparison to other conventional surveillance systems available in the market. The product was improvised over time. We have been in touch with the National Security Guard for this robot. Rigorous testing is still pending as some work is yet to be completed. We are looking for industry to commercialise this product. Recently, during the Industry Day programme organised by NCETIS, we invited industry [members] to view our products. Some companies have shown interest,” Seema Periwal, senior programme manager for NCETIS.