ReconRobotics introduced the Recon Scout Rescue, a 1.3-pound reconnaissance robot that can be used to locate victims, explosive devices or hazardous materials. Once deployed, the robot transmits real-time video to operators working the incident, said David Gustafson, the company’s director of commercial sales.

The company first developed the robot for use by the U.S. military, SWAT teams and other federal agencies, but it also is a perfect fit for firefighters and police agencies that need intelligence about an incident, Gustafson said. He said a first responder simply pulls the activation pin and throws the device through a doorway or over a wall, or drops it down a vertical shaft using a tether. It can survive repeated horizontal throws of 120 feet and vertical drops of 30 feet on concrete.

“Throwing it through a window or dropping it down a shaft — it’s designed to take that kind of punishment and get the intelligence back to the operator,” Gustafson said.

The user then can use the joystick control unit to direct the robot. Gustafson said that the device is equipped with an infrared optical system that turns on automatically when the ambient light is low, so it can see in complete darkness and transmit video wirelessly to at least 100 feet indoors to 300 feet in outdoor environments.

When packaged with the company’s Command Monitoring Station, the robotalso can transmit video to an incident command post up to 1,000 feet away. It lets users switch from one robot frequency (channel A, B or C) to the next to monitor video transmissions from up to three robots. Software included with the CMS also lets users with a computer running Windows XP or Vista record up to two hours of video and capture and store still images, Gustafson said.

“It allows the rescue teams to pull the video signal out of the robot and deliver it to the command element at a much greater range,” he said. “And if they need to, they can record the data. The incident commander can be 1,000 feet away and getting the video feed back through our CMS connected to a laptop or he can record the incident for training and evidence purposes.”

The robot costs $13,000, Gustafson said.