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Electronics - General | Field Innovations | R&D - Private | Robots | USA

(Toy) “Trucks to Troops” Fights Land Mines

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Military grade robots may have swarmed into war theaters as a US “Army of the Grand Robotic”, but the ingenuity and charity of hobbyists still has a place on America’s front lines. In the 2000s front-line troops started using remote-controlled toys then US military made a big push to investigate and destroy suspected land mines using military-grade robots instead. Americans are a tinkering lot by nature. The remote-controlled toy trucks that some troops were already using to nudge suspicious packages, are a classic example. They work even better with a weatherproof wireless camera on board, for looking under vehicles. Which is what software engineer Ernest Fessenden of Rochester, MN put together for his deployed brother, Chris, with the help of a local store called Everything Hobby… It worked, it saved lives, and the requests began. Soon, Trucks to Troops was a full-fledged 501c3 organization, distributing its $500 hobby projects to others on the front lines. Fessenden is very clear about his project’s limitations: “We’re not trying to replace anything. We’re just trying to give guys another tool, and if they can use it, great! And… [if not,] pass it on to someone else who might be able to use it. […]

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