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In this World Wide Wrap: iRobot develops military `ChemBot`, and South Korea sets up defence research centres.

iRobot develops military `ChemBot`

iRobot has secured a multimillion-dollar research and development contract for a new type of soft, flexible robot for the military, says CNet.

The “ChemBot” project was awarded to iRobot from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) and the US Army Research Office.

iRobot did not release any preliminary diagrams or details on what the ChemBot might look like. But some ideas on what a ChemBot might be like can be gleaned from a request for proposals Darpa put out in March 2007. The robot Darpa wants to see must be a soft, flexible, mobile robot that can squeeze into hard-to-reach places. The goal is to make a robot that would be "soft enough to squeeze or traverse through small openings, yet large enough to carry an operationally meaningful payload," according to Darpa`s request.

South Korea sets up defence research centres

South Korea on Tuesday opened up a new defence research centre that will develop ways to apply the country`s advanced nanotechnology to develop new precision and micro weapons systems, says

The new specialised research centre has a 13-billion-won (US$12.5 million) budget to develop the new technology until 2016 under the supervision of Kim Do-hyang, professor of materials engineering at Seoul`s Yonsei University, according to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration.

Another defence research centre will be opened later this week at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.