KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (Dec. 8, 2011) -- Robotics field service representatives and machinists at the Camp Leatherneck Mobile Parts Hospital are working together to make improvements to the robots Soldiers and Marines use to investigate improvised explosive devises.

The FSRs at the Camp Leatherneck Robotics Repair Detachment wanted to incorporate a hook and probing attachments to the Talon robot used by combat engineers and explosive ordnance detachments. The new attachments are intended to replace hand tools that require a Soldier or Marine to approach an IED.

Their first attempt involved modifying the hook tool already in use and attaching it to the robot, but this was too heavy and caused the robot to malfunction. They next tried rebar, but that was too week and would bend.

Enter the mobile parts hospital.

"We got with the mobile parts hospital to fashion an extra arm with a spring to attach different hooks to," said Todd Patterson an unmanned aerial vehicle FSR from Bellwood, Pa.

"We went off of his design," said Grant Broome, the site coordinator for the parts hospital, from Gadsden, Ala.

"We came up with some ideas and put them into CAD [computer aided design], took it out and tested it," said Blake Brodeur, a machinist at the hospital, who is from Anniston, Ala.

Working with a Marine EOD at Camp Leatherneck the new attachments have undergone several tests, including one with live explosives.

"Based on feedback from EOD, we are making more changes," said Patterson.

The team plans to make a few more modifications to the attachments before fielding them.

"A system like this is going to keep a lot of warfighters…from using that pole," said Leroy Cook ground robot FSR from Murrieta, Calif.