There have been several examples of primarily military inventions that have found application in civilian life. Borrowing from the concept of remote-controlled unmanned ground vehicles, the Swedish company Rotundus has developed a robot equipped with cameras, capable of providing live 3D video feed remotely.
The Rotundus GroundBot is spherical in shape. It is an all-terrain device that can negotiate mud, sand or snow; it can even float on water. It can be equipped with wide-angled cameras, infrared sensors for night vision, as well as sensors for detecting radioactivity, gas, heat, smoke, explosives, narcotics and even biological material. All sensors and cameras are sealed inside an air-tight polycarbonate sphere that makes it rugged enough to withstand routine knocks and drops.
The GroundBot is well-suited to bolster security at airports, train stations, power plants and so on. A patented mechanism allows the GroundBot to move and turn in virtually any direction. To start rolling in a certain direction, the built-in motor raises a pendulum located inside the sphere.
Doing so alters the centre of gravity of the sphere, which causes the robot to start rolling in the desire direction. Quite a clever use of high school physics, wouldn’t you say?
The GroundBot is not very small. It weighs about 25 kg and measures about 60 cm in diameter. It has a top speed of 10 km/hour. Depending on the terrain in which it is to be used, knobby tyres can be attached. On a full charge of its batteries, it can run for 8-16 hours, depending on the nature of mission. It takes around 4 hours to recharge it fully.