The Throwbot can literally be tossed into a room, where it will relay back video and sound to security forces. Credit: USAF photo.

A security gadget so high-tech, it only takes five minutes to learn it — what could be better than that!

What is it and what does it do?

The Throwbot — a throwable mini scout — is a wheeled micro-robot that can roll into unsafe areas and transmit video and audio recon back to defenders, allowing them to make informed decisions without getting in the line of fire, David Roza of Task & Purpose reported. 

It records and transmits video and audio reconnaissance, indoors or outdoors, to an operator’s control unit.

The device gives a response team a safe way to assess a situation, make informed decisions and perform tasks that can lead to saving lives and property, Task & Purpose reported.

“It took five minutes for me to learn how to use it,” said Leon Gray, from the 96th Security Forces Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base. “It quickly became apparent how our security personnel could utilize this tool in our operations.”

USAF security forces testing the Throwbot say it would be very useful in active shooter situations. Credit: USAF photo.

If this gadget sounds familiar, it should. In the Tom Clancy video game Rainbow Six Siege, players use wheeled drones to scout out buildings, scan for enemy players, and even serve as stationary cameras. 

Airmen also plan to use the drone to check under vehicles when conducting commercial vehicle inspections, according to the Air Force, Task & Purpose reported.

Not only is the Throwbot useful, it’s tough, too. According to the Air Force, the drone can take 30-foot falls, crawl over a variety of terrain, and tow up to four pounds of additional equipment. 

A camera on its front allows an operator to see what it sees.  The control unit contains a joystick to guide the device, a video monitor and antennas. Video can be fed to an external monitor.

In an active shooter situation, the Throwbot’s camera allows an operator to see around corners while clearing a building under threat, locate and identify subjects, confirm presence of hostages and show a room layout, Task & Purpose reported.

The best part: you can absolutely chuck it!

But why, we ask, is it important to be able to throw a robot?

The Throwbot can be easily controlled with a remote control unit. Credit: USAF photo.

According to Throwbot manufacturer Recon Robotics, toss-ability is great when you need eyes in an upstairs room that normal ground robots may have trouble accessing in the first place, Task & Purpose reportes.

“If we had owned the robot back then, we would have breached an upper window and thrown in the robot,” said Sgt. James Evenson, of the Rochester, Minnesota SWAT team, in a product testimonial.

“As it was, we ended up deploying gas in the residence, and the cleanup and remediation was a very expensive proposition.”

The Throwbot is also more versatile than heavier, tank-like drones that can’t be carried deep into the middle of a dangerous situation, Task & Purpose reported.

“What our team really likes is that it can be easily carried in an entry team backpack and when you need to use it, you can simply grab it, pull the pin and throw in the robot,” said Sgt. Jake King, of the Marietta, Georgia SWAT team, in a testimonial.

Airmen at Eglin seem to be in agreement with their civilian counterparts. 

“We’re glad to have the Throwbot as another 96th SFS tool to use in our ever-evolving security mission at Eglin,” Gray said in the article. “It will be especially great to have in emergencies, to help us make informed decisions when seconds count.”

This article by David Roza originally appeared on Task & Purpose.

Unlike most recon robots, the Throwbot gear can easily fit into a backpack. Credit: USAF photo.