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ReconRobotics Throwbot

ReconRobotics Throwbot

Recon Scout Throwbot to aid police, firefighters, and the capture of modern day pirates…

A tiny recon bot that has been used by the U.S. military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan for several years, has now been issued to FCC law enforcement and firefighters. The Throwbot was previously denied to the emergency service because its live video feed infringed on privacy regulations. Thankfully these life saving bots have now been granted a waiver and will be employed by our emergency services.

The remote-controlled Throwbot, made by ReconRobotics, weight 1.2lbs, is just eight inches long, and can transmit live video feed to a command station 1,000ft away. The bot can be dropped from a height of 30ft without sustaining damage, which makes it incredibly durable.

reconrobotics throwbot

ReconRobotics Throwbot

Image Credit: ReconRobotics, 2011.

Its design ensures it lands in the correct position on any flat surface, where it can then quietly maneuver at the controls of a remote operator, whilst providing valuable video reconnaissance.

ReconRobotics, has also unveiled its new Recon Bot designed specifically to provide the surveillance needed to catch pirates. The two piece, or ‘marsupial’, system consists of a small recon bot with an infrared camera, which is house inside a slightly larger bot that can magnetically stick to the metal hull of ships. The two bots are fired from a canon; the magnetic bot adheres to the ship’s hull and climbs up to the deck where it then deploys the smaller recon bot to carry out surveillance.

This highly effective UGV is sure to see more upgrades in the coming years. President and CEO of ReconRobotics, Alan Bignall, said that “in the future this system might also include other payloads and sensors which would increase its versatility and expand its mission profile.”

Modifications could also be adapted from similar technologies like the bots being developed by a team at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Distributed Robotics. Their bot takes recon a step further by adding a mechanism to stand it up, and helicopter like propellers to enable flight.

helicopter recon scout bot

Helicopter Recon Bot

Unfortunately the teams current device was costly – they had to build two separate motors; one to prop up the bot and another to power the propellers, IEEE Spectrum reports that the mechanism to fold down the rotors cost $20,000 alone – however the concept of providing these durable recon bots with the ability to fly is a notion I’m sure is already on the drawing board at ReconRobotics.

Related Posts:


  1. Clay Dillow: Police and Firefighters in the U.S. Get a Tiny, Throwable Recon Robot. Popular Science, 04/19/2011.
  2. Rebecca Boyle: Rolling Robot Transforms Into A Helicopter On Command, Decepticon-Style. Popular Science, 05/16/2011.
  3. Evan Ackerman: Little Rolling Robot Transforms Into Helicopter. Spectrum IEEE, 05/16/2011.
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