Robot teddy bear is new US weapon


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A robot could soon be a soldier's best friend on the battlefield under a proposal being developed by the Pentagon. The mechanical warrior, called Bear, is highly manoeuvrable

The mechanical warrior, called Bear, looks like an oversized toy with a teddy bear's face. However, it can squeeze through doorways while carrying a wounded serviceman. The 6ft-tall remote-controlled device can travel long distances over bumpy terrain and carry out the toughest assignments.

Bear, short for Battlefield Extraction-Assist Robot, is part of the new generation of "steel soldiers" being developed for Afghanistan and Iraq, reports New Scientist. The prototype torso made out of steel can lift a 21-stone man with one arm. Its creator, Vecna Technologies, is now improving its lower body.

In tests, Bear - equipped with cameras and microphones through which a human operator sees and hears - has climbed up and down stairs carrying a human-size dummy. The robot, which is expected to be ready for testing in the field in five years, can also carry heavy loads over long distances.

Robots are becoming common in the US military. When the Americans encountered tough resistance from the Taliban in their Afghan cave networks, the troops sent in Packbot robots to explore the corridors. They are also used to defuse mines.