Partner Spotlight: Squishy Robotics, the Drone Force Multiplier
Squishy Robotics builds rapidly deployable mobile sensing robots for disaster rescue, remote monitoring and space exploration. With a rich history of building technology for NASA, Squishy technology is at the fusion of robotics, mobile sensing, machine learning, big data fusion and smart IoT (Internet of Things).
Blueforce Founder and CEO Michael Helfrich recalls that a common friend of both companies brought Squishy and Blueforce together. “Both companies were at Verizon’s Operation Convergent Response 2018 when a good friend came along,” Helfrich said. “A Liaison Officer at Army Research Laboratory brought the Blueforce and Squishy Robotics teams together and basically said that he wanted the sensor data coming off of Squishy’s robots to be displayed on BlueforceCOMMAND, our common operating picture platform.”
Helfrich views the capabilities of the Squishy Robotics Stationary and Mobile Robots as “game changers for emergency management, HazMat response, and a whole host of other use cases for Public Safety and national security operations.” Squishy robots can be dropped from aerial drones and stay on target for extended periods of time, allowing a single drone to be quickly redeployed after delivery. “Squishy enables a force multiplier effect for agencies that have integrated drone operations into their response protocols by leveraging a single drone to deploy Squishy robots, and then quickly move that same drone on to the next task,” said Helfrich.
Since that initial meeting in late November 2018, both companies have prioritized the integration of Squishy Robotics’ drone-deployable sensor and camera robot payload data gathering competencies with Blueforce’s sensor fusion/data sharing capabilities. This work enables the sensor robots to communicate 360-degree camera visuals, GPS data, and historical and real-time assessments of sensor data to the Blueforce software platform.
“Blueforce is known for its commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS) data fusion software and AI platform and is one of the leaders in edge-based processing,” said Deniz Dogruer, Squishy COO and Co-Founder. Explaining that edge computing can reduce latency and improve Internet of Things (IoT) performance in rugged and remote environments—settings where Blueforce and Squishy Robotics customers often must operate—both companies are interested in improving communication interfaces and expanding communications modalities.
“There is work to do to standardize and develop interoperable data interfaces that will strengthen and speed up the delivery and exchange of critical data from and between a wide variety of mobile, wearable, and command center equipment,” Helfrich stated. “Both companies will be focusing our ongoing integration work on low-power consumption communication interfaces, such as LoRA, and other protocols that enable smart IoT and IoBT networks and services.”
In looking back on the past two-plus years of partnering with Blueforce, Dogruer thinks that Liaison Officer saw not just the synergistic possibilities, but also recognized the two companies’ congruity. “Our association with Blueforce is effective because each company brings its technological strengths, cohesion, and mutual respect to the collaboration.” She predicts that “the synergistic opportunities have only just begun.”