Firefighting Robot Team

Here is the mechanical fantastic four of fire fighting showcased in a story by BBC.  They even have names that would be fitting of any superhero.  You have Talon, Bison, Black Max, and Brokk.  Each robot is a specialist, but they work as a team to handle special fire situations involving gas cylinders.  Talon is a small, maneuverable tracked robot like the bomb disposal machines in Iraq. It can climb stairs, and is outfitted with video and thermal imaging cameras.  Next is Bison, a slightly bigger and more dexterous robot that uses grippers and cutting tools to access vehicles or storage areas.  Then, there is Black Max to take care of the traditional fire-fighting task. It is four-wheeled, remote-controlled vehicle that sits low to the ground and carries a fire hose.  Brokk is the final team member.  It is a modified piece of industrial digging equipment that is remotely controlled and fitted with a giant claw to remove dangerous objects.  Read the story of these mechanical fire fighters at the links below.

Credit:  Channel 4 News

Robotic firefighting team debuts
BBC News
The robots range from a nimble, stair-climbing reconnaissance unit to a diesel-powered robot with a large claw. The two-year project is funded by Network
Firefighting robot team unveiledUberGizmo
Robots join the London Fire BrigadeNewsLite
Rise of the Machines?Channel 4 News
all 10 news articles »

Robotic firefighting team debuts – BBC News
Tue, 28 Jul 2009 14:02:00 GMT

Weekly Newswrap: Leftover Stuff

This week’s Newwrap is best described as leftovers.  These stories are like the food remaining after a big dinner:  I didn't want to throw them out because they could still make a good meal.  

Again, the subjects range all over the place.  A robot in a wedding dress walks down the runway at a fashion show in Japan is today’s entry.  There are also underwater robots, surgical robots, and robots to help humans.  Finally, from the beginning of the week, there are the robots that may advertise on the Moon.  Quite an eclectic group of stories to look at for this week.  I hope you enjoy them.

Robot Hits Runway at Osaka Fashion Show

Tokyo, Jul 26 (PTI) Japanese scientists have made a robot in an elaborate wedding dress walk down the runway at an Osaka fashion show, a development seen as
See all stories on this topic

Robot hits runway at Osaka fashion show
Press Trust of India – New Delhi,India
Sun, 26 Jul 2009 13:16:19 GMT

Robby the Robot goes underwater (St. Tammany News)

Robotics, especially underwater robotics is still a new profession. Used by oil and gas companies to repair underwater pipelines and drilling platforms, underwater robots have replaced human divers in dangerous depths that can crush a human diver.

Robby the Robot goes underwater (St. Tammany News)
Thu, 23 Jul 2009 15:27:29 GMT

High-tech robot allows doctors to treat soldiers remotely

Dr. Kevin Chung appears on the screen of the robot that helps him treat soldiers from afar. A revolutionary robot mounted with a high-tech camera is helping
See all stories on this topic

High-tech robot allows doctors to treat soldiers remotely
CNN International – USA
Thu, 23 Jul 2009 13:44:26 GMT

Archie robot wants to helps humans despite creepy appearance – DVICE

Archie robot wants to helps humans despite creepy appearance
Though it may look crude on its surface, the fact is that the Archie robot is the result of a lot of hard work by researchers at the Vienna University of

Archie robot wants to helps humans despite creepy appearance – DVICE
Wed, 22 Jul 2009 08:28:28 GMT

Robots to Advertise on the Moon

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah, July 20 /PRNewswire/ — It's one giant leap for robot-kind. New Shadow Shaping technology creates images on the Moon that can be
See all stories on this topic

Robots to Advertise on the Moon
PR Newswire (press release) – New York,NY,USA
Mon, 20 Jul 2009 11:19:26 GMT

Astrobotic Technology Reveals Robot Design To Survive Moon’s Extreme Heat

In a post today at IEEE Spectrum, the design for Astrobotic Technology’s entry into the Google Lunar X Prize in revealed.  This unique concept is conceived around the idea of surviving the incredible heat of a lunar noon which is 270 degrees F or 130 degrees C.  Just how will it accomplish this feat?  David Gump, the company's president, gives the details in a feature on the Astrobotic’s website:

The robot beats the heat by keeping a cool side aimed away from the Sun to radiate heat off to the black sky. It travels toward or away from the sun (generally east or west) without turning its radiator into the light. Only the solar cells on the hot side ever face the sun. The robot can travel north and south by tacking like a sailboat.

Astrobotics Robot

Photo Credit:  Astrobotic Technology

New design overcomes intense lunar heat

For the company vying for the Google Lunar X Prize, it's all about keeping the (robot's) head cool.  

Astrobotic Technology Reveals Robot Design To Survive Moon's Extreme Heat
Tue, 21 Jul 2009 00:24:12 GMT

Monkey Uses Mind Control to Move Robot

Sometime ago I saw this story on several feeds that I monitor.  I have listed some of the links to earlier stories below if anyone wants to see details of this interesting robotic application.  Although I did not write about this remarkable project at the time, I thought this research showed exciting possibilities for medical applications.  Stoke victims or people with spinal injuries could benefit from this work in robotic arm control.  By implanting a chip in the monkey’s brain, the monkey is able to command the robotic arm to move in a very precise manner.  The original paper on this is published in Nature (available with paid subscription, but you can see the abstract on-line).  Originally, the purpose was to allow the monkey to feed using the robotic arm.  That certainly requires exceptional control of the arm to accomplish that feat.  Check out the links to other stories on this below.

 Monkey Controls Arm

Image Credit:  Sky News – UK

Sky News

The chimp can operate the robot with such dexterity that it can reach out to grab, and turn a handle. The mechanical arm has an arm, elbow, wrist and simple
See all stories on this topic

Monkey Moves Robot Using Mind Control
Sky News – UK
Mon, 13 Jul 2009 07:44:19 GMT

Cortical control of a prosthetic arm for self-feeding : Article

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Monkey's brain controls robot arm

Study: Monkeys Control Robotic Arm with Brain : NPR

Monkeys Control a Mechanical Arm With Their Thoughts –

Mind Over Matter: Monkey Feeds Itself Using Its Brain

Weekend RobotNext Newswrap

Several interesting stories about robots crossed my news feed today, and since I could not decide which one to write on – I am starting something new at RobotNext.  This feature will be called the Weekend RobotNext Newswrap.  On Sundays, I will pick several robot stories that I have seen that are interesting, newsworthy, or just plain strange.  Of course, this will be in my opinion only, and I will not indicate which are the strange ones.  I will leave that up to you.

So, here’s what I found for today.  First, a story on making robot costumes out of gift bags.  Just what you need for Halloween, which is only a few months away.  Plan now, it will be here before you know it.  The small humanoid robot interacting with a cat is too cute to pass up and the article is interesting to boot.  A more serious note is struck by the posting on search and rescue robots.  This is a real life-saver for the rescuer and the rescued.  RoboCar is an intriguing little car that is being developed in a Japanese lab to test features of autonomous vehicles.  And finally, check out the Israeli RoboCup team entry.  The three member robot team is looking to help put Israel on the map in robotics.

I hope you will check out all the stories.  Let me know if you like the roundup and which story is your favorite.

Gift Bag Robot Costumes

Make Gift Bag Robot Costumes – Parents of toddlers and preschoolers know that you have to have a LOT of fun activities in your arsenal to keep those little bodies occupied. Here's a project I love …
CraftBlips – Top Other News,… –

Make Gift Bag Robot Costumes – Craft
(author unknown)
Sun, 28 Jun 2009 18:44:06 GMT

Advanced, But Small, Humanoid Robot

Times of Malta

Ġiġ the robot shows off
Times of Malta
Ġiġ is an advanced humanoid robot built by University students in the Faculty of Information and Communication Technology (ICT)'s special project lab as
and more »

Ġiġ the robot shows off – Times of Malta
Sun, 28 Jun 2009 08:26:59 GMT

Search and Rescue Robots

Flight and rescue robots demonstrate the advantages of search and
TU Graz (Pressemitteilung)
Modern robotics can help where it is too dangerous for humans to venture. Search and rescue robots (S&R robots) have meanwhile become so sophisticated that
and more »

Flight and rescue robots demonstrate the advantages of search and … – TU Graz (Pressemitteilung)
Sun, 28 Jun 2009 08:12:23 GMT


If by some unexplained cosmic phenomena (let us say – ZMP) mystically managed to cross an open sourced Knight Industries Two Thousand (KITT) from Knight Rider with a crash test dummy, then RoboCar will be the product. This cute little intelligent Linux based bugger is designed and made by ZMP – a renowned robotics company […]

RoboCar – Autobots Roll Out!
Sun, 28 Jun 2009 16:00:50 GMT

Israeli RoboCup Team

In this tournament, the 25 teams have only three players, the players are all autonomous robots and the ultimate goal is to promote research and development in the fields of robotics and artificial intelligence. RoboCup and its accompanying …

Israeli robot soccer players put best foot forward – Jerusalem Post
Sun, 28 Jun 2009 21:40:00 GMT

Robot takes over Tokyo classroom

Saya, is the name of a life-like female robot that began her career as a robot receptionist.  Then “she” was re-programmed to teach.  Saya gave a lesson to fifth-graders at Tokyo's Kudan Elementary School.  The purpose of the demonstration teaching is more to showcase the technology for students than to attempt to replace human educators.  The students carbon-based teacher had her own opinion about the robotic teacher.

"On the one hand I am impressed that they've got robots to go this far, but on the other hand they still have a long way to research before they create a truly robotic teacher," …

Robot takes over Tokyo classroom
Tue, 12 May 2009 18:34:28 GMT

Human teachers should not fear for their jobs just yet.  This robot had to be carried to the front of the classroom for her presentation of the lesson.

Jumping robot to bounce into military service

Do you remember these words?  "Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound."  This robot can’t outrun a high-power projectile or stop a freight train, but it may be able to match some of superman’s jumping skills.  As detailed in New Scientist, the US army has commissioned a robot that will jump up stairs or leap through windows during urban operations

Engadget reported that the Precision Urban Hopper, as it is known, will have as its goal the capability of jumping over large obstacles in city combat situations. “It will boast one extremely tough leg to assist it, in addition to its four wheels. The Hopper is supposedly going to be able to jump 25 feet in the air once completed.”

Boston Dynamics, the company that built the prototype, is due to present its next model sometime during 2010.

Now, in addition to all the other military robots, there will likely be one type that can jump.  What do you think about that?

Jumping robot to bounce into military service
Fri, 08 May 2009 09:29:00 GMT

Army orders more iRobot battlefield robots – Boston Globe


More robots are on the way for the military.  I read about this from several reports.  Since I had posted two articles a couple of days ago on this topic, I thought this would be a good follow-up.  These iRobot Corporation machines are today’s robot soldiers.  What does the future hold for robots on the war-fighting front?

Bedford’s iRobot Corp. said it has received a $16.8 million order from the US Army for more of the company’s battlefield robots. The order “marks the first purchase of iRobot’s advanced PackBot 510 series under an existing $200 million” contract …

Army orders more iRobot battlefield robots – Boston Globe
Wed, 06 May 2009 16:45:00 GMT