Cyber & Technology

Playing with Robots at Brookings: An Interview with Andrew Borene

By Benjamin Wittes
Tuesday, March 5, 2013, 4:40 PM

A few months ago, I attended a robotics conference in Edina, Minnesota, invited by a gentleman named Andrew Borene, who helped organize it. There were a lot of impressive robots at the conference. But in many ways, the one that impressed me the most was one made by the company for which Andrew works, ReconRobotics. Tiny, light, and yes, throwable---literally---by tactical forces, it sends back to soldiers or law enforcement high-quality video and, in later models, audio from potentially hostile environments. It is highly maneuverable and astonishingly easy to use.

So I asked Andrew to bring one by Brookings and do a video interview with me, in which we test drove a Throwbot XT with audio.

Many Lawfare readers probably already know Andrew, who is, in addition to being a robotics executive, a former Marine and, yes, a national security lawyer---to wit, the editor of The U.S. Intelligence Community Law Sourcebook. He also played a role at the Lawfare Drone Smackdown. Andrew came by Brookings a couple of weeks ago to talk about his company's robots and to give a demonstration---using the Brookings Governance Studies offices as a subject of a sustained reconnaissance mission.

Special thanks to George Burroughs for camera work, editing, and production of the video.