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Sarcos is an American developer of robotics and microelectromechanical systems and related technologies. It was founded in the early 1980s when it was spun out from the University of Utah. The company specializes in creating robotic devices for military and public safety applications. Sarcos has a rich legacy of innovation that can be found in a wide variety of applications, ranging from the robotic pirates and dinosaurs at well-known theme parks, to the robotic fountains in front of the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, to NASA space suit testing equipment, prosthetic limbs, and MEMS sensors. Time Magazine named Sarcos’ Iron Man-like exoskeleton robot one of “The 50 Best Inventions of 2010”.
|Headquarters||University of Utah Research Park, Salt Lake City, Utah|
|Products||Microelectromechanical systems, Medical microsystems, Powered exoskeleton|
|Divisions||Robotics, Biomedical engineering|
The company is developing robots that improve safety and efficiency defense, public safety, manufacturing, oil & gas, construction, transportation, mining, infrastructure inspection and health care.
Sarcos was founded in 1983 by Stephen Jacobsen and operated principally as a bioengineering research institution. By 1992, Jacobsen increased attention to commercial interests such as animated film props, prostheses, and human/computer interfaces. In 2000, Sarcos accepted a grant from DARPA, the research arm of the United States Department of Defense, to develop a design for a powered exoskeleton suitable for military applications. DARPA accepted the Sarcos design in 2006 and the firm began developing prototypes. In November 2007, Raytheon purchased Sarcos for an undisclosed sum, seeking to expand into robotics research and production.
From 2007 until 2014, Sarcos operated as the robotics division of American defense contractor Raytheon and was known as Raytheon Sarcos. During this period, Raytheon Sarcos was focused exclusively on developing cutting edge technologies for use by U.S. governmental agencies.
The company was operated as a division of Raytheon until 2015 when Raytheon Sarcos President and Mission Center Executive Dr. Fraser Smith and technology entrepreneur Ben Wolff led a consortium that acquired the Sarcos business from Raytheon. In September 2016, Caterpillar, GE Ventures and Microsoft led a financing round to provide Sarcos with the growth capital necessary to expedite the commercialization of its products.
Sarcos has developed technologies in partnership with, and for, government agencies such as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Defense, NASA, the Department of Homeland Security, Fortune 100 companies such as AT&T, Boeing, Ford, Merck, and Xerox PARC, and universities such as MIT and Carnegie Mellon. With more than $260 million invested in the development of its technologies, more than $350 million in cumulative revenues, and over 300 patents related to its innovations, Sarcos’ products represent the culmination of decades of advancements in complex electro-mechanical and biologically-inspired engineered systems. Sarcos has been one of the top recipients of DARPA funding over the past three decades.
Sarcos Robotics is focused on commercializing a family of three dexterous robots that enable human operators to perform tasks in physical environments that are inaccessible or too dangerous for humans, or where the task itself is too dangerous or time consuming for humans to perform safely or efficiently.
Guardian S - Snake and Scorpion RobotsEdit
The Sarcos Guardian S robot represents a first-of-its-kind surveillance and inspection robot that is fully capable, cost-effective, and portable. Weighing approximately 10 pounds, the Snake Robot can be tele-operated from miles away, can reliably traverse challenging terrains including stairs, culverts, pipes, tanks, and many vertical surfaces, and can facilitate two-way real-time video and voice communication. The Sarcos Scorpion Robot is an advanced version of the Snake Robot, equipped with precision, force-sensing end-effectors to enable highly dexterous tasks under tele-operation control. As a remote inspection and monitoring tool with optional interventional capabilities, the Snake and Scorpion Robots have wide applicability in industries ranging from public safety, security, non-destructive testing, defense, disaster recovery, infrastructure inspection and maintenance, aerospace, maritime, oil and gas, and mining. Presently, Sarcos is demonstrating the Guardian S robot to public safety personnel as a robot that can solve existing unmet public safety needs, such as being a “man-portable”, having superior surveillance capabilities, possessing the ability to climb stairs and over vehicles, and having optional end-effectors in the future that can dexterously manipulate and defuse explosive devices.
Guardian GT - Big-Arm RobotsEdit
The Sarcos Guardian GT provides a combination of dexterity and strength to the operator. Mounted on an agile vehicle base, the Sarcos GT’s dual-armed system can lift payloads up to 1,000 pounds, dexterously, and with minimal human effort. Utilizing Sarcos’s proprietary high-fidelity force reflection technology, the operator feels the scaled forces experienced by the arms, even if the system is tele-operated from miles away. As a result, the Sarcos GT’s system is intuitive, robust, and safe to operate even in dangerous or hazardous environments. It requires minimal training to use and enables handling of difficult-to-manipulate objects with a high degree of control. The current GT system has already been successfully demonstrated to significantly improve shipbuilding efficiency, safely completing in minutes tasks that typically take several workers many hours to perform, while minimizing the opportunity for human injury. Sarcos intends to initially market this product to manufacturing, construction, logistics and transportation markets.
Guardian XO – Exoskeleton RobotEdit
Building on Sarcos’ award-winning XOS-2 exoskeleton robot, the Sarcos Guardian XO robot represents the next stages in the evolution of high-performance, highly dexterous, untethered robots. The Guardian XO is the commercial version of the XOS-2, which augments human strength and endurance, enabling the operator to perform hours of physical activity that would otherwise be impossible for a single human to perform. The Guardian XO will be relevant to a multitude of large global markets, including manufacturing, construction, health care, logistics, oil & gas, public safety and defense industries. The Guardian XO is currently under development.
Powered exoskeleton historyEdit
In 2000, DARPA requested design proposals for a powered military exoskeleton. Of the 14 designs submitted, DARPA chose the one submitted by Sarcos. The Sarcos design involves a suit powered by a single engine, including a tank holding 30 hours of fuel, that sits near the wearer's buttocks. The suit gives the wearer increased strength and endurance through servo motors powered by the engine. The finished suit is named the XOS Exoskeleton and weighs approximately 195 pounds. Popular Science reported that the XOS gives wearers the ability to lift 200 pounds (91 kg) "repeatedly with minimal strain". DARPA specifications call for the suit to allow lifting of up to 400 pounds (180 kg), but it is not known whether the XOS meets that criterion. Time Magazine named Sarcos’ Iron Man-like exoskeleton robot one of “The 50 Best Inventions of 2010”.
The army will use initial production models of the XOS for logistics and supply tasks such as repetitive lifting of heavy objects. Future models will have various combat customizations for firing heavy weapons or transporting wounded soldiers.
A second iteration, the Raytheon Sarcos XOS 2, was released in 2010.
Product development historyEdit
Since its inception in 1983, Sarcos has produced a wide variety of robotic devices for different applications. It built undersea salvage robots for the United States Navy and other units for law enforcement organizations. Sarcos also builds robotic props for films and amusement park attractions. For example, Sarcos has built some of the animated pirates seen in the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction appearing at four Disney theme parks, the Wicked Witch of the West audio-animatronic at Disney's Hollywood Studios' The Great Movie Ride, the robotic dinosaurs for Jurassic Park: The Ride at Universal Studios Hollywood, and the robotic fountains for the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas.
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- Marks, Paul (2006-10-24). "Exoskeleton update". New Scientist Blogs. New Scientist. Retrieved 2008-04-29.
- Murphs, Darren (2006-10-30). "Sarcos to produce US Army's exoskeletons in 2008". Engadget. Weblogs, Inc. Retrieved 2008-04-29.
- Highfield, Robert (2008-04-25). "Robotic exoskeleton replicates Iron Man". Telegraph.co.uk. Telegraph Media Group Limited. Archived from the original on 2008-05-01. Retrieved 2008-04-29.
- Mone, Gregory (May 2008). "Man of Steel". Popular Science. 272 (5): 44–53.
- Mirchandani, Rajesh (2008-04-16). "US army develops robotic suits". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 2008-05-02.
- Shields, Guy; Kovalsky, Corrine (27 September 2010). "Raytheon Unveils Lighter, Faster, Stronger Second Generation Exoskeleton Robotic Suit". Raytheon. Retrieved 9 July 2016.