Research: Market for Robots that Aid Military, Emergency Personnel to Hit $43.7 Billion by 2014
By Michael Dinan
The global market for robots that assist military and first responder units will grow from $441 million in 2007 to $43.7 billion by 2014, according to a Lexington, Massachusetts-based firm’s study that’s being released by a market research firm with offices in Dublin, Ireland.
The nearly 100-fold increase – described in a WinterGreen Research, Inc. 484-page report titled “Military Ground Robot and First Responder Market Strategy, Market Shares, and Market Forecasts, 2008-2014,” and now offered by Research and Markets – is due changes in the way robots operate in the military.
“Robots give troops the distinct advantage of completing critical missions at a safe distance,” according to Research and Markets. “More robots create a greater strategic advantage.”
According to the firm, robots – especially mobile robots, which can operate away from troops – are automating military ground systems, saving the lives of soldiers and others in the field.
One particular type of robot already has likely saved the lives of some deployed U.S. troops, according to the firm.
“Use of remote-controlled devices in Iraq started as improvised robots to check out possible roadside bombs,” the firm says. “There has since been a flurry of activity on the robotic explosive ordnance disposal front. Deliveries of smaller and cheaper MARCBOTs and BomBots are underway.”
Robotics developers – called “roboticists” by some – are finding all sorts of uses for automated devices.
According to The Associated Press, Georgia Tech researchers have found a new use for the appendage that once inspired William Shakespeare to write:
“That man that hath a tongue, I say is no man,
If with his tongue he cannot win a woman.”
Maysam Ghovanloo, an assistant professor at the university, reportedly is leading a team who believes that a magnetic, tongue-powered system could transform a disabled person’s mouth into a virtual computer, teeth into a keyboard – “and tongue into the key that manipulates it all.”
“You could have full control over your environment by just being able to move your tongue,” Ghovanloo reportedly told AP writer Greg Bluestein.
The Yellow Jacket researchers say their so-called “Tongue Drive System” transforms a tongue into a kind of joystick, Bluestein writes – and could revolutionize the way disabled people use their mouths to mobilize and communicate.
The notion has gained traction in some healthcare circles.
According to Mike Jones, a vice president of research and technology at the Shepherd Center, an Atlanta rehabilitation hospital, the Georgia Tech solution could provide “an almost infinite number of switches and options for communication.”
“It’s easy, and somebody could learn an entirely different language,” Jones told Bluestein.
Research and Markets officials say that advances in the field stimulate further advances.
“With each new round of innovation, a type of technological cross pollination occurs that improves existing robotic platforms and opens up other avenues where intelligent mobile robots can be employed, effectively creating new markets,” the firm says. “Roboticists are more advanced in their training and in the tools available to create units. Military robots have evolved from units used in the field to manage different situations that arise. Robots save lives.”
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Michael Dinan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Michael’s articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Michael Dinan