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Network Members’ Digital Exhibition

Bomb Disposal Robot

(Ulster Museum/NMNI)

Prior to 1972, explosive devices could only be disarmed by hand. In 1972 Explosive Ordnance Disposal operators started to use an instrument codenamed ‘Pigstick’ in bomb disposal. The device shot a burst of water into the rigged explosive that caused the circuitry to malfunction.

Later that year retired Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Miller developed a bomb disposal robot that used the same technique but which could be operated remotely. His design was based around the chassis of an electrically-powered wheelbarrow. From 1972 to 1978, 400 of these ‘wheelbarrows’ were destroyed while dealing with explosive devices.

It is impossible to quantify the number of lives saved by Miller’s innovation which, since its introduction to Northern Ireland, has been used around the world.