Ciholas has enjoyed a long and productive
Our work with iRobot dates
back to the mid 1980s when we built robot electronics for indoor
platforms and continues to this day.
The most interesting and rewarding program we have been involved
with is the PackBot series of robots. PackBots are an exceptional
combination of capability and ruggedness never before achieved in
robotics. They are capable of operating under water, in caves, in
deserts, and in snow. They are able to survive severe shock without
damage. There are few obstacles that the PackBot cannot cross.
Packbot Chassis Electronics
chassis provides the mobility, power, brains,
and communications for the robot. An embedded implementation
of the PC architecture, the electronics are a ground up design
optimized for the power, space, weight, and ruggedness
required by PackBot. The custom made high performance Pentium
motherboard and the tight integration of the electronics into
the mechanics are two of its most impressive features.
EOD Arm Payload
The PackBot has a very flexible and capable payload interface system.
Each of eight ports is capable of two channels of video, 100Mbs
Ethernet, USB, and delivering power. Our work also included development
efforts on the PackBot EOD and the Packbot Explorer.
The PackBot EOD,
now widely deployed in Iraq, adds an articulated
arm that is used to defuse terrorist bombs. The electronics
integrated into the arm control numerous motors, cameras,
lights, and other features. Among the impressive achievements of
the arm is the totally enclosed wiring path which protects the
wires from damage and keeps the entire payload sealed.
is a sensor rich head mounted on an
articulated neck used for search and rescue or surveillance. The
head possesses an array of cameras and lights to make searching
in all conditions possible. The electronics are integrated
inside the head and neck.
Ciholas worked extensively with iRobot engineers in
developing these PackBot products. We were involved from the
beginning with early conceptual designs and the development of
new innovations to solve challenges. Nearly all of the
electronics were 3D modeled to test form and fit before
construction. We developed several innovations in motor control
and sensing that give the PackBot unparalleled performance in a
light weight package. Our ability to think "outside the box"
enabled significant weight reductions and increased capabilities.
Ciholas continues to support iRobot with the
production of the PackBot product line. There is nothing more
rewarding than to know our work is instrumental in saving lives.
For further information on the PackBot product line, or to
inquire about PackBot payload development, please visit