The US Department of Homeland Security last month gave
Robotic Research LLC
the go-ahead to develop the next-generation robot for emergency medical personnel.
The engineering firm signed a two-year, $1 million contract to design and build a robot that can sense its environment and function with minimal operator control. Headquartered in Gaithersburg with a maritime research facility in Baltimore City, Robotics Research designs software and systems for robots.
The current contract is phase two of the homeland security department’s Small Business Innovation Research Program for the Maryland company’s Sensor-Smart Affordable Robotic Platform. In phase one, the company received $100,000 for a prototype. Upon completion of the current contract, the Robotic Research may commercialize the product, President Alberto Lacaze says.
The Sensor-Smart program is a family of small, mobile robotic platforms with three-dimensional adapted components for specialized missions. The 3-D components allow the robot to adapt to the different conditions an emergency medical technician would encounter. For example, different sensors can be used to determine toxins in the air or to start a video system for rescue operations.
“We are expanding the functionality of the robot with sensors, tailored for particular applications,” Lacaze says. “It’s almost like the robot can modify itself to different situations.”
Robotic Research also manufactures components of robots, either prototypes or final products that are put into other robotic devices. Its customers are primarily the US military and homeland security department.
Among its products are a control system for the recovery of unmanned boats, in collaboration with General Dynamics Robotic Systems and sponsored by the US Naval Sea Systems Command; and an indoor mapping and visualization robot for Global Positioning System-denied terrain and buildings, sponsored by the US Army.
It's conducting an ongoing project for the US Department of Defense’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency at the company’s research facility, located on two boats at the Baltimore marina at Fells Point.
Founded in 2002, the privately owned Robotic Research employs 25. It has ongoing paid internships for college students at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Source: Alberto Lacaze, Robotic Research LLC
Writer: Barbara Pash