Military robots such as the SUGV and the Packbot in development at Bedford, Mass.-based iRobot do things humans can't or don't want to do.Click to enlarge this image.James Leynse/Corbis September 11 had quite a different meaning for me before it became 9/11. And early on that cool blue morning I took my daily run from our Chelsea apartment down the West Side Highway past the World Trade Center to South Ferry and back. I never thought much about the Twin Towers then, except sometimes to remember the convoluted history of how they got built in the first place, or to feel their overwhelming presence in what was then a low-rise part of Manhattan as I breezed past, with no sense of how gigantic their absence might become. Robots have been used in the aftermath of many subsequent disasters -- hurricanes, building collapses and, most recently, in the nuclear plant meltdown at Fukushima.
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