MIT Performs Tele-autonomous Bomb Disposal Research Using RE2’s HDMS

The Interactive Robotics Group within MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) is using RE2’s 16-DOF Highly Dexterous Manipulation System (HDMS) integrated onto a Clearpath Husky robotic development platform to create a tele-autonomous bomb disposal robot.

MIT chose RE2’s HDMS dual-arm system because the research team, led by associate professor, Julie Shah, wanted a system similar to one that would be fielded for bomb squad operations. RE2’s HDMS is an Office of Naval Research funded technology and one of the only highly-dexterous dual-arm systems on the market. 

Shah and her team are using the HDMS, which the lab code-named “Optimus”, to perform complex real-world tasks that require two arms, such as opening a box and grasping an object inside or grasping a cylinder and extracting something from within the container.

“Optimus can be remotely controlled by a human operator to execute complex manipulation tasks and is being used in our supervised tele-autonomy project. Our goal is to control the robot at a higher level of abstraction than bomb squad operators are able to today. Instead of tele-operating the manipulators joint by joint, we tell the robot a task to perform.”

“We try to ground our work in real world applications. We want to be able to expand the procedures and tasks that a robot can do in this domain by using a dual-arm system.”
— Julie A. Shah, Associate Professor within the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Head of the Interactive Robotics Group in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at MIT.