The Battlefield Extraction-Assist Robot (BEAR), developed for military search-and-rescue missions, has hydraulic arms that can support injured soldiers weighing up to 400 lbs. (more than most troopers in full gear) and a system of wheels, tracks and joints that enable it to maneuver in all sorts of positions. It can balance on its back wheels to climb up a steep hill or roll over rough terrain while staying low to the ground. For now the BEAR needs a human to drive it via remote control, but a more autonomous version is in the works.
Inventor: Vecna Technologies
Availability: Field-ready by 2010
To learn more visit www.vecna.com/robotics