Here's a pretty interesting piece of defense tech sent over by DT reader Travis the other day about an innovative mast system that can be used in unmanned ground vehicles that allows the diminutive bots to see over high walls.
The so called Situational Awareness Mast uses a patented interlock system that differentiates it from telescoping masts that take up a lot of room and weight when stowed, thereby limiting their extension height.
Here's what Hizook blog said about it...
The Situational Awareness Mast (SAM, also known as a Zipper Mast) from Geosystems Inc. is a telescoping linear actuator that has a unique property -- it's stroke length is an order of magnitude greater than its nominal height! For example, the SAM8 is a 10 lb device with a stroke length (8ft) that is 24 times it's nominal height (4 inches)! This can be used to vertically translate a robot's sensor suite for better visibility while still allowing for a low profile. Read on for information on the different Zipper Mast variants, the patent describing the system, and an exclusive video of a Zipper Mast on an iRobot Packbot!Be sure to check out Hizook for more details on how Geosystems accomplishes the low-profile boom. They've got pics from the patent and other schematics. As with UAVs, UGVs are beginning to come into their own and I know from personal experience they're a potential lifesaver on a battlefield strewn with IEDs, mines and other boobie traps.
And here's a video of the system that best explains how it works. Geosystems Situational Awareness Mast (aka Zippermast) from Travis on Vimeo