The LANdroids are coming: Roomba maker to build networking robots for soldiers

A while back we told you about the LANdroids — tiny remote-control machines designed to extend wireless networks on battlefields. Now those roving robots is a step closer to reality, as the Pentagon has contracted with iRobot Corp. (the guys who make the Roomba) to develop them. Rather than actually go into harms' way, the LANdroids are supposed to position themselves to serve as repeaters in a local wireless network, creating a LAN that any friendly war-fighters in the vicinity can log into to get the big picture.

As well as being smart enough to move down a street while avoiding obstacles, they are intended to be small enough for a soldier to carry several, cheap enough to be disposable (there's shooting going on, remember?) and tough enough for a harried solder to simply drop or throw (a requirement that's also related to the fact that there's shooting going on). Though they haven't been designed yet, the LANdroids will probably end up looking something like iRobot's current line of military PackBots, shown above (with the original LANdroid concept inset) and in the picture gallery below. Funny, they don't look anything like vacuum cleaners.





Via Information Week