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," stated Julie A. Shah, Associate Professor within the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Head of theInteractive Robotics Group in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at MIT.