Patent number 8505230 is assigned to
The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "During combat and other situations when an adversary may be encountered, obtaining visual surveillance of the surrounding environment can be beneficial. Gaining an appropriate visual vantage point, however, often places individuals and equipment in harm's way. For example, peering through a doorway to look into an adjacent room can expose an individual to hostile fire. Personnel ascending and descending stairwells and entering attic spaces may be similarly exposed to hidden or unexpected dangers.
"Outdoor environments can provide similar obstacles to visual surveillance which, when circumnavigated or avoided, may expose an individual to hostile fire. Such obstacles may include, for example, walls, fences, berms, buildings, rock formations, and the like.
"Existing surveillance equipment for providing indirect visualization of a desired environment varies in complexity from extendable mirrors to mobile robots. The use of robotic surveillance systems, such as illustrated in FIG. 15, is becoming increasingly common in hostile environments. The robots used in these surveillance systems are utilized to provide visual images.
"After delivery into an area to be surveilled, such as by throwing, the robots can be remotely maneuvered with an operator control unit to position the robot and embedded camera as desired by a user. A drawback of these devices is that their use is limited by the availability of terrain (i.e., a ground surface) or objects that can support the robot. A further drawback is that once positioned into a hostile environment, retrieval of the robot can be limited or impractical due to the presence of adversaries and physical obstacles that cannot be overcome after delivery, such as occurs when a robot is thrown over a wall. A further drawback of these devices, however, is that deployment or use requires a user to lower the user's weapon or hold a weapon with one hand so that the other hand can be used for the surveillance device. By lowering the weapon or removing a hand from the weapon, the user is effectively tactically disengaged from the situation or loses effectiveness and thereby becomes more vulnerable."
In addition to the background information obtained for this patent, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "The present invention effectively meets the aforementioned needs by providing an apparatus and method for mounting a mobile surveillance robot to existing structure on a firearm such as a rifle. A mount for a surveillance robot according to an embodiment includes a rifle-coupling portion, a body, and a robot-coupling portion. The rifle-coupling portion generally defines structure coupleable to structure of the rifle. The respective structures of the rifle-coupling portion and the rifle may be complementary to provide for a keyed fit. The body of the mount may include a tensioned released mechanism to removably secure the mount onto the rifle. The accessory-coupling portion may include a pair of opposed retaining arms made of a deflectable material for creating a pressure fit around an accessory. The accessory may, for example, be a two-wheeled surveillance robot having a body that can be received by the opposed retaining arms.
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