WASHINGTON: Cut the red wire? Cut the blue wire? That classic action movie dilemma isn’t even on the table for bomb squads using current robots, which can drag the bomb away from people or blast it with a shotgun. That’s what Harris has developed its T7 Explosive Ordnance Disposal robot, which has fingers — sort of. The T7 has a pair of pincers, so it’s not replacing the human hand any time soon, but in the EOD world you generally want to keep human hands (and other parts) well out of harm’s way.
Just as crucial is the robot hand’s novel (and frankly weird-looking) control device, which has a gamer-style handgrip mounted on a set of spiderlike metal legs, which are in turn attached to small electric motors. The control lets you “feel” as if the T7’s hand were you own, allowing you to avoid (say) accidentally bashing a ticking time bomb or crushing a glass vial full of anthrax.