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100 FirstLook Robot Helps First Responders in Emergencies
The new iRobot 100 FirstLook robot uses situational awareness to investigate circumstances and provide solutions.
By Jennifer Hicks, Forbes - Filed Oct 30, 2013

More Security and Defense stories
Last week brought us another milestone in the world of robotics via the launch of Willow Garage’s newest spin off, Unbounded Robotics and its new mid-range one-armed lab robot UBR-1.

At the other end of the robotics pendulum, we saw an upgraded defense and law enforcement robot from iRobot IRBT -2.56%. iRobot’s defense and security team recently unveiled new accessories and capabilities for iRobot’s 110 FirstLook robot.

Mark Belanger, iRobot’s Director of Department of Defense Robotic Products says the new upgrades on 110 FirstLook makes it highly adaptable for the defense and law enforcement communities.

Tele-operated ground robots were used in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2005 in missions to clear I.E.D.s and provide real-time surveillance. In 2004, 10 Omni-Directional Inspection System (ODIS) robots were deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan: six robots were deployed in the Green Zone in Baghdad, two were deployed at Kandahar Army Airfield and two were deployed at Bagram Army Airfield in Afghanistan.

Domestically, law enforcement agencies are encountering similar detection and clearing missions in regards to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) emergencies in the United States. So the 110 FirstLook robot functions in the same capacity in military missions — protect first responders in CBRN emergencies.

The military, including Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams, special forces and infantry are looking to small, lightweight versatile robots to accomplish different missions safely.

Border patrol, SWAT teams, HazMat, police and fire units, and other law enforcement teams are also looking to robotics to provide situational awareness that keeps their team members out of harms way.

With a new arm and accessories, iRobot’s 110 FirstLook provides a higher level of situational awareness, perform persistent observations, investigates and manipulates dangerous objects and identifies hazardous materials more accurately.

The 110 FirstLook robot weighs only five pounds and can be customized with several third-party accessories already carried by defense forces. The robot has smaller, lighter manipulator which lets it easily pick up and move objects and lifting up to three pound. with an extension of one foot.  The robots CBRN sensors enable it to identify hazardous chemical materials, gases or radiation leaks.

The 110 FirstLook robot is also equipped with thermal cameras giving it 24/7 operations and an Integrated Deployment and Camera (IDAC) which gives the operator enhanced situational awareness and the ability to deploy payloads such as markers or charges.

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