As unmanned systems become more commonplace in military, police, and other security forces, they are tasked to
perform missions that the original hardware was not designed for. Current military robots are built for rough outdoor
conditions and have strong inflexible manipulators designed to handle a wide range of operations. However, these
manipulators are not well suited for some essential indoor tasks, including opening doors. This is a complicated
kinematic task that places prohibitively difficult control challenges on the robot and the operator.
Honeybee and iRobot have designed a modular door-breaching manipulator that mechanically simplifies the demands
upon operator and robot. The manipulator connects to the existing robotic arm of the iRobot PackBot EOD. The gripper
is optimized for grasping a variety of door knobs, levers, and car-door handles. It works in conjunction with a compliant
wrist and magnetic lock-out mechanism that allows the wrist to remain rigid until the gripper has a firm grasp of the
handle and then bend with its rotation and the swing of the door. Once the door is unlatched, the operator simply drives
the robot through the doorway while the wrist compensates for the complex, multiple degree-of-freedom motion of the
door. Once in the doorway the operator releases the handle, the wrist pops back into place, and the robot is ready for the
The new manipulator dramatically improves a robot's ability to non-destructively breach doors and perform an inspection
of a room's content, a capability that was previously out of reach of unmanned systems.