Plants May Supply Unique Materials for Robotic Actuators

Robotic Apple with WormIt’s always fascinating to me that one of the best sources for new ideas in robotics is nature.  Here is another case where living organisms have provided a model for mechanisms in a robot.  In this article from Nanowerk News (click the link below for the full article),  the research leading to this application is detailed.

There are many examples of robots built on the basis of some animal, insect, or plant.  Some examples are snakebots, robofish, and even robobees.  Nature is simply one of the best models for roboticists to follow.

What is your favorite biomimetic robot?  Let me know your ideas.

Engineers developing moveable robot components may soon take advantage of a trick plants use. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam and Harvard University in Cambridge (USA) have devised porous materials that could serve as actuators, or motors.

Read More: Materials modelled after plants may help robots to move more naturally

Source:  Nanowerk

Perth engineer invents world’s first robotic bricklayer

imageOne of the oldest skilled jobs in the world may now be done by robots.  Mark Pivac, an engineer from Perth, Australia built a robotic bricklayer that can lay the brick walls for a house in two days.  The bot is capable of laying 1,000 bricks an hour and it can basically do this 24 hours a day.  It could potentially build the brickwork for 150 homes in a year.

Hadrian the robot is named after the famous Roman wall.  It works from a 3D computer-aide design program that pinpoints through its algorithms, the location of each and every brick going into the house.  Because the brickbot has an telescoping arm with a reach of 28 meters, it’s able to work from one location on the home site.

There are two ways to look at this development:  Either the end of a labor-intensive, back-breaking job for a human, or one more job a robot will take from people.  What is your take on this?

 

“WORLD, meet your new bricklayer.”

Source:  MARA FOX,  PerthNow

Perth inventor creates robot brickie

 

"Ladybird" autonomous robot to help out down on the farm

Agricultural robots are beginning to come into their own.  This article on the “Ladybird” robot explains how one type of machine is being developed to help farmers conduct a host of operations on many types of crops.  This “bug” won’t eat the insects, but will collect various kinds of data to help determine the problems and how to control them.  See below for the link to the article and for links to other information on related robotics projects.

'Ladybird' is an autonomous farm robot capable of conducting mobile monitoring of a variet...

http://images.gizmag.com/hero/ladybird-7.jpg

“Ladybirds are happily welcomed by gardeners into their yards, knowing that they will consume the most prolific plant pests like white flies, mites, and aphids. Imagine, then, how useful an autonomous, solar-powered, intelligent robotic ladybird could be on a farm. Enter the University of Sydney’s "Ladybird," not actually an eater of insect pests, but a robot capable of conducting mobile farm reconnaissance, mapping, classification, and detection of problems for a variety of different crops. ..” Continue Reading "Ladybird" autonomous robot to help out down on the farm
Section: Robotics
Tags: Agriculture, Autonomous, Farming, Robotics, Robots, University of Sydney
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"Ladybird" autonomous robot to help out down on the farm
Colin Jeffrey
Wed, 02 Jul 2014 10:22:08 GMT

NewsWrap

The end of the week is here and its time to look back and see some of the stories about robotics from the past few days. Here are the links to the items that showed up on the RobotNext feeds over the past few days. Enjoy.

"I am looking for (a) floor cleaning robot(s)." Robot Reviewshttp://bit.ly/1iItmi2

"First animatronic robots speaking any world language appearing in Astana." AKIpress News Agency – http://bit.ly/1iItIFn

"Haslett High School robotics team takes top 'bot' in the world." Lansing State Journal | lansingstatejournal.comhttp://on.lsj.com/1iIuimr

"Sphero Robot Maker Orbotix Raises $15.5 Million." Re/codehttp://on.recode.net/1pYzjLs

"Fear not the 'bot? As robots take jobs, experts ask if humans will keep up." Crain's Detroit Businesshttp://bit.ly/1pYzQ0a

"Interact, Program & Play w/Romo, Your iOS Robot Companion" – Mac Observer Dealshttp://bit.ly/1pYALO4

"Wearable Robots on the Rise to Help Paraplegics Walk." ABC News | WTKA-AM http://bit.ly/1pYBEGf

"Everything You Need to Know About Terrifying, Wonderful Robotic Snakes." Mother Joneshttp://bit.ly/1pYCa7a

"Mysterious robotic plane hits 500 days in space; what's it doing?" http://bit.ly/1pYCjYk

"Robotic Automation: Another Moore's Law?" Innovation Insights | Wired.comhttp://wrd.cm/1pYCzGU

"Robotic harvesters may be the future." The Growerhttp://bit.ly/1pYCMK1

"Robotic rock stars shine at festival." Stripes Central | Stripeshttp://1.usa.gov/1pYDqqU

 

Smart cars and robot surgeons could be headed our way

Jurvetson_Google_driverless_car
By Flckr user jurvetson (Steve Jurvetson) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Robotics may open the way to new jobs that we cannot imagine right now.  Yes, it is unsettling to realize that robots may take our current jobs, but we must be prepared to accept that new careers and work will be generated by this dramatic change.

Will self-driving cars take us to our jobs of the future? When we were kids, we dreamed of becoming doctors, lawyers, astronauts. Now the future generation has a new group of jobs to choose from thanks to advancements in technology. "Telesurgeons will …

Smart cars and robot surgeons could be headed our way
Wed, 30 Apr 2014 08:12:00 GMT

Flying Robot Can Be Your Running Coach

If you have ever worried about venturing out on your own for a run, then this robot is what you need. This little flying bot can fly along side of you and keep you company. Or if you want more than that, then it has an advanced mode where it goes in front of you and encourages you to go faster. It works be locking in on a target on your shirt and then staying with you. Not only does this machine provide companionship or coaching, but it could provide a sense of security. Although, I don’t think this was the original intent of the designers, this robot could be of great use to watch over the lone runner out on a long run. It seems to me that the robot could be modified to signal if the runner is motionless for a period of time. If the runner is injured or ill, then help could be on the way. With a little more programming and GPS hardware, maybe the robot could also track location and mileage. To me the potential for this flying exercise monitor is tremendous. It is not yet in production and still needs development work (it only has a battery life of about 20 minutes), but I look forward to seeing where this goes.

 

Chad Toprak's jogging buddy is an autonomous robot drone helicopter which has has programmed to follow him & pace him while running.

Chad Toprak with his hovering robot. Photo: Craig Sillitoe

The RMIT honors student is part of the team behind the Joggobot, an autonomous whizzing device that levitates in front of joggers and encourages them to get fit.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/technology/sci-tech/flying-robot-set-to-spur-on-flying-feet-20120602-1zohe.html#ixzz1wrnBi7mj

Flying robot set to spur on flying feet
Sat, 02 Jun 2012 21:22:14 GMT

A Robot That Cleans Your Room—Finally!

It’s true that there are robots for almost every thankless task around the house. Although a few of the most hated ones still need that robotic help. For example, a robot that folds clothes, puts away the dishes, or even loads the dishwasher would be nice. I know robots to do all these tasks, and more, are in development, but they are just not there yet. Now, here comes a robot that will pick up the stuff laying around your room or office. Its about time. But, don’t blame the robot or its developers. The room cleaning activity is just not easy for a robot. The robot must know what the objects are, that they are out of place, and where they go. For a robot to accomplish all that is very slick. (Just remember how much you hate this task and you know what’s what in the room!) So, how long will it be before a robot is developed that can do all the tasks that now take a fleet of robots? That is probably several years away at best. We can always hope that we live to see that robot to make our lives even easier than they are now.

Nao-At-Work-a22552207

fotocommunity.com

There's a robot for just about every thankless household chore — one scoops poop, another folds towels, there's even one that pours beer. Now, thankfully, there's a robot that tidies up a messy room. The room-cleaning task is more difficult than it
See all stories on this topic »

Robot smart enough to clean your room (but not to have excuse to get out of it)
msnbc.com
Wed, 23 May 2012 20:31:07 GMT

Robotic Lifeguard to Assist Their Human Counterparts

This robot lifeguard assists the human lifeguards by zipping out to the distressed swimmer and providing a flotation device until other help arrives. The robotic lifeguard goes by the acronym “EMILY”. “EMILY” is named for a 13 year old California girl that died tragically. There are issues with this lifeguard assistant. For one thing, the device may not be useful with children swimming in shallow waters. Also, it may not be able to help swimmers that have already gone under the surface. Finally, there is the expense. These devices cost upwards of $23,000 for two of the “EMILY”s plus training for two lifeguards. With these potential drawbacks many wonder if the robots are worth the cost when they are basically untried.

As with robots in other areas of life, time will be the judge of their usefulness and cost effectiveness. What do you think? Is it always worth it to try new applications for robotics?


CBS Local

Robotic lifeguards making their way to the beach
WNCT
Meet a state-of-the art robotic lifeguard called "EMILY." Lisa Konicki, the Executive Director of the Westerly-Pawcatuck area Chamber of Commerce, has worked tirelessly to bring this invention to her town. "EMILY" is an acronym for Emergency Integrated
Robotic buoy to be used as lifeguard in Rhode IslandNew Haven Register
Robotic Lifeguards Making Their Way To East Coast ShoreHartford Courant
Lifeguarding goes high tech in WesterlyWRNI
all 15 news articles »

Robotic lifeguards making their way to the beach – WNCT
Tue, 22 May 2012 18:37:41 GMT

Paralyzed Patients Use Thoughts to Direct Robotic Arms

Personal assistance robots may have just become much more user friendly. According to Leigh Hochberg, MD, PhD, of Brown University in Providence, R.I., and colleagues in a recent research project, two patients in a clinical trial were able to directly control robotic arms by using their thoughts.

Dr. Hochberg related in a paper published in the May 17 issue of Nature, “Using an investigational neural interface system — called BrainGate – two quadriplegics in a clinical trial were able to direct robotic arms to touch and grab foam balls.”

One of the patients was even able to grab a bottle of coffee and drink through a straw by controlling a heavy-duty arm, the researchers reported . The patient had not been able to do that by herself in nearly 15 years.

It seems to me that this may open the whole field of robotics to the idea of controlling machines with thoughts. Think of a robotic vacuum cleaner that you could direct to a spot that it missed during its cleaning runs. Even better a robotic exoskeleton that a paralyzed patient could direct to allow them to walk around and carry out fundamental tasks. This is merely the logical extension of the outcome of this research.

Imagine the freedom that mobility-impaired people would gain with the full development of this technology. Truly amazing stuff!


msnbc.com

Robotic Arms Allow Paralyzed Patients to Grasp Objects
BusinessWeek
By Elizabeth Lopatto on May 16, 2012

Two people paralyzed by strokes were able to control robotic arms by using their thoughts, a medical advance that may lead to more-sophisticated prosthetic limbs. One patient, a 58-year-old woman, used a robot arm
Stroke Victims Control Robotic Arm With Thoughts Wall Street Journal
Paralyzed woman gets robotic arm she controls with her mind msnbc.com
Paralysis victims use brain signals to control robotic arm USA TODAY
Science NewsTechnology ReviewPopular Science
all 21 news articles »

Robotic Arms Allow Paralyzed Patients to Grasp Objects – BusinessWeek
Wed, 16 May 2012 17:26:18 GMT

Space Robots May Service Satellites

weather-satellite_w553_h725Two companies are building robots to service dying satellites and keep them functioning in orbit. The question with the idea is whether or not this process would save money over the current practice of abandoning and/or replacing the dead satellites. At this time, it just does not seem financially feasible to have robots repair or refuel satellites even though the technology certainly is at the level needed to carryout these operations.

 

Photo Credit: NASA

Robotic droids prepared to extend lives of satellites
Examiner.com
Orbiting our planet is a vast multitude of satellites, some long dead and some still carrying out their mission. Once a satellite breaks down it's nearly impossible to fix it due to the massive costs of sending a specialized crew of astronauts to get
and more »

Robotic droids prepared to extend lives of satellites – Examiner.com
Tue, 15 May 2012 16:17:55 GMT