The U.S. Army researchers are working to test a new robot, designed by Vecna Robotics, which would be used to recover and rescue wounded soldiers during combat. The robot, called BEAR (Battlefield Extraction Assist Robot), can spot a soldier in trouble thanks to its sensors and its cameras.
BEAR is controlled remotely via a special glove that allows the use of simple hand gestures to operate it, to make it approach the wounded soldier, pick him up from the ground and take him as soon as possible to the nearest medical point.
The rescue robot can carry a load of about 230 kg, lifting it gently with its hydraulic “arms”. With a height of about 1.80 m, BEAR can also inspect any area behind a wall, or lift its load on a raised surface. The arms are equipped with “hands” that can carry out precision tasks, ensuring that a wounded soldier will be treated with care and not moved abruptly.
Moreover, thanks to these features, BEAR can be used not only for rescue operations, but also for reconnaissance and surveillance, to transport explosives or hazardous materials that must be handled with care, or to inspect parcels which could conceal a bomb, defuse a mine, all this without putting human lives at risk.
The simulations and tests on BEAR are going on since about a year, and also include the development of a new iGlove, the glove used to control it, which will allow for a more precise control and for the ability to send advanced instructions, for example when defusing a bomb. In addition, the future version of BEAR will have several autonomous functions, which can be carried out without human intervention.