About a week or so ago we talked about a batch of 100 Talon robots being deployed into Iraq to perform Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) duties (although they were capable of doing a lot more, potentially). That post encouraged Kevin Webb of Tackle Design to tell us about his company's Project: ORD, a low-cost solution that can perform the same EOD roles as the $250k Talons—for just over $1000.
Essentially, the ORD is a modded R/C truck with a built-in camera and a remote-controlled latch system designed to drop a packet of C4 on a mine or rigged explosive. See, the easiest way to dismantle a bomb isn't to try to disarm it wire-by-wire—just blow it up. Even the Talon, with its fancy arm and precise motor control, pretty much just wheels over and drops some C4 on potential IEDs, as well.
The best part, though, is that the ORD is being using today to remove explosives in Iraq, despite there being only one. The co-founder of Tackle Design, Jonathan Kuniholm, is a Platoon Commander in the Marines. Why wait for the government to ship you a fancy robot when you can just hack together an equally-effective device yourself?
Project Page [TackleDesign]