Robot Uses Bernoulli’s Principle to Crawl Up Walls

The drive to develop robots that can traverse any type of surface, including vertical ones, has taken many approaches.  As far as climbing walls, robots have relied on adhesives, magnets, and other types of gripper mechanisms.  Now comes air.  That’s right, air, but rapidly moving air that creates a suction force.  The robot can climb walls, even over surfaces with a gap, using this non-contact gripping method. You can see the robot in action at the video link that follows the summary.  Read the rest of the story at the link below to PhysOrg.com.


Image credit: University of Canterbury. (PhysOrg.com)

Robot uses supersonic air jets to climb on walls and ceilings (w/ video)
PhysOrg.com
In this clip from the video below, the robot crawls up a wall using a non-contact vacuum grip, due to Bernoulli's principle.  Instead of using sticky footpads to climb on walls and ceilings,
Video: Robot's Supersonic Air Jets Allow it to Climb Just About Any Surface 

Robot uses supersonic air jets to climb on walls and ceilings (w/ video) – PhysOrg.com
Tue, 24 May 2011 21:45:43 GMT

RobotCity Workshop – Where You Can Make Your Own (Robot) Friends

Robotcity workshop-thumb-407x387-177649   

Photo Credit:  RobotCity Workshop

RobotCity Workshop may well be the only store of its kind in the country, a visionary shop with the slogan "Make your own friends."  Education has been a central part of this establishment's mission for years, as they have worked with school students to build robotics projects.  Now, they are doing the same for adults.

With a retail outlet in the front of the store, and a workshop on the premises, anyone can learn how to build a robot.  Of course, there are other projects available too. 

The shop carries all types of robots.  They range from personal robots, cleaning robots, security robots, and other categories of robots as well.  In addition, the RobotCity Workshop offers hobby kits for all ages and abilities, electronic parts, and, of course, the hardware to hold it all together.  Everything for the robot builder is available here.

This may very well be the prototype for robotics stores.  Providing not only the materials and means to built the machines, but also the educational experience to enable everyone to learn about robotics.  After all, for those of us that believe the robotics revolution is here to stay, this is the kind of place that needs to be in every city.

Make sure to go to the Chicago Now website and read their story on this groundbreaking and unique store.

via www.chicagonow.com

NASA Plans for Space Robotics Team

Robonaut 2 and Robonaut 2

Photo Credit:  Courtesy NASA

So, imagine a team of robots – all kinds of robots – some with wheels, some bipedal, some that fly.  Now imagine those robots working as partners with astronauts on some future space mission.  This may be on an asteroid or maybe even Mars. 

Astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) already work with robots, mostly in the form of robotic arms, to accomplish their tasks, so this in not a far-fetched concept.  Robonaut 2, shown in the photo above, will soon fly on the ISS to demonstrate that  NASA-developed space robots  can work closely with their human team members in space exploration.

In this story from Computerworld, written by Sharon Gaudin, robots are seen as full partners in space exploration.  What do you think of this?  Will humans need robotic companions on space missions?  This seems like a good bet since robots already play an essential role in current space activities.  Read the story at the link below.

That's the image that a lot of the U.S. space agency's engineers have in mind as they work on the new robotic rovers, said Terry Fong, director of NASA's intelligent robotics group. In comparison, the Mars rovers on the Red Planet have been working alone for years.

"We're working on a new use of these robots — robots to support human exploration," Fong told Computerworld this week. "NASA is now thinking, 'How do you go about sending humans to the moon or Mars or elsewhere? How can you use the combination of humans and robots to do exploration better?' I think it's a really, really fundamentally different approach."

NASA official outlines plan for next-generation space robots – Computerworld

Underwater Robots Work in Cold, Dark to Stop Oil Spill

In a desperate effort to stop the massive oil leak occurring in the Gulf of Mexico, robots are attempting to seal off the well spewing the crude.  These machines are controlled from the surface by operators trained to operate them in the darkness over 5,000 feet below sea level.  Robots once again are showing that they have an important role to play in areas where it is impossible for humans to operate outside of specially designed vehicles.  If the robots cannot turn off the leaks, then it could be months before the leaks are stopped.  Read the story at the link below. 

“Pilots using jetfighter-like joy sticks and computer screens to guide robots a mile underwater are crucial to BP’s efforts to stop a leaking oil well that’s gushing thousands of barrels a day in the Gulf of Mexico.”

David Wethe on May 4 at Bloomberg.com

Underwater Robots Probe ‘Inner Space’ to Plug Leaking Oil Well – Bloomberg.com

Hawaii Student Robotics Teams Face Oil Spill Problem Similar to One Off US Coast

In a case of simulation imitating life, high school students in Hawai’i are faced with finding solutions to a theoretical oil spill.  The problem eerily mirrors the massive oil spill now occurring in the Gulf of Mexico.  Robots are being used in the attempt to shut off the flow of oil, but so far none have been called in to help in the actual clean-up efforts.  A quick search with Google turned up this post on robots designed to actually clean up spilled oil, but at the time of the article these bots were only a concept.  

Maybe the high school kids have come up with a real working model.  Check out the article below for the details of the competition.  It was scheduled for today, but so far I have found no results online.

What about the idea of using robots for environmental clean up?  Let me know what you think.

"Thirty-one Hawai‘i student robotics teams from across the state will put their STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education to the test at the 2010 Hawai‘i Regional Botball Tournament Saturday (May 1)."

"This season’s game theme encourages students to research, understand and generate solutions to an environmental disaster. On the simulated competition field, an earthquake has caused an oil pipeline to rupture sending thousands of gallons of oil into the pristine “Lake Capek.” To be successful, teams must apply sorbents to the oil slicks then rescue and clean oil contaminated ducks, release the clean ducks back into the wetlands, and save the frogs trapped on an island all in 120 seconds with two autonomous robots."

Hawaii student robotics teams address simulated environmental disaster | Hawaii247.com | Hawaii 24/7  April 30, 2010

Japanese Robot to Walk on the Moon by 2015

The next step on the Moon may well be taken by a robot.  In a country that produces robots to do almost anything you can imagine, a robot to walk on the lunar surface is not so far-fetched.  The Japanese just may be the next nation to plant a flag on the dusty surface of Earth’s largest satellite.  That is the plan of the Osaka-based “Space Oriented Higashiosaka Leading Association” (SOHLA) which announced its goal of putting a robot on the moon by 2015.

SOHLA consists of six private space technology companies with connections to governmental space research institutions.  The group estimates it will take about $10.5 million to make the project work. SOHLA is trying to build on the success of the satellite it launched into orbit last year, Maido-1.  The bipedal humanoid robot planned for the Moon is tentatively named Maido-kun.

Some think that the mission of this pioneering robot should be more than a simply flag planting ceremony, but even if this machine does not discover any new resources for Japan, it may well show the world that the Japanese have set their sights on laying claim to whatever valuable materials may be located there in the future.  Read the story at the links below.

Image Credit: SOHLA via Popular Science

Story by Jeremy Hsu at Popular Science  "That's one small step for robots, one giant leap sideways for space exploration. …" 

See all stories on this topic

Via Popular ScienceCrunchGearNODE [JP], and Pink Tentacle

Bipedal Japanese Robot Will Walk on the Moon by 2015
Popular Science
Thu, 29 Apr 2010 15:27:51 GMT

Robot Diet Coach

So, its been a while since that New Year’s Resolution about losing weight fell by the wayside.  What can you do about those excess pounds?  Just to show you that there is a robot for almost everything, here is a one designed to help you get back on track to thinness.  Autom is a robot that works to keep people on their diet.  Its main advantages are that it is a sociable robot that can give personal and positive feedback, while also keeping the dieter aware of daily calorie intake.  There is no instruction book.  Just push a button and the robot searches for a human face and begins to interact.  With the huge market for weight loss products in the United States, this just might be the dieter’s dream.  Read the entire story at the links below.

Cory Kidd with Autom, the robot he reckons will transform losing weight.

Photo: AFP

One inventor did just that and came up with Autom – a robot that will look dieters in the eye and tell them what they need to hear.
See all stories on this topic

Sydney Morning Herald

Fat chance? The robot that helps you slim
Sydney Morning Herald
Tue, 27 Apr 2010 07:47:36 GMT

Robotic Roaches for Surgery

Here is an article on an idea that definitely raises the ick factor for surgery to a new level. Like something out of Stephen King's Creepshow, robotic cockroaches are being developed which can crawl into patients' bodies and remove diseased organs by dragging them back out through the mouth.  This next step in robotic surgery is being developed by one of Britain's top doctors.

In the report titled, Robot insects to remove organs via patients' mouths, Sophie Goodchild, Health and Social Affairs Correspondent for the Standard, states "Keyhole surgery pioneer Lord Darzi is developing the "bug-bots", which are set to revolutionize scar-free surgery."

The insect bots would enter the patient's body via the mouth and be able to remove tumors or diseased organs by use of a laser.  Then the surgeons can withdraw the surgical bots and diseased parts through the mouth.  So, there would be no scarring on the patient's body.  (I am not sure about the patient's mind!!!)

Seriously, this has great promise for surgery.  Its not just the lack of scarring, it is the fact that this could reach tumors in difficult to reach areas and the patient's should recover much faster.  Of course, you would have to get use to little robotic creatures crawling around your insides.

Read the story at the link below.

via www.thisislondon.co.uk

Lunar Roving Russian Robot Found After 37 Years

A Russian robot rover has been photographed from lunar orbit after 37 years.  The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) imaged the area on one of its orbits of the Moon.  Then, Phil Stooke, a researcher from The University of Western Ontario, solved a 37-year-old space mystery using lunar images released yesterday by NASA and maps from his own atlas of the moon.  Lunokhod 2 stands 4 ft 5 in high and is about 5 ft 7 in long and 4 ft 11 in wide, and it shows up clearly in the overhead photo.  For mobility, it used 8 independently powered wheels.

As explained on the Wikipedia site, “Lunokhod 2 was equipped with three television cameras, one mounted high on the rover for navigation, which could return high resolution images.  These images were used by a five-man team of controllers on Earth who sent driving commands to the rover in real time. Power was supplied by a solar panel on the inside of a round hinged lid which covered the instrument bay, which would charge the batteries when opened. A polonium-210 radioisotope heater unit was used to keep the rover warm during the long lunar nights.  After landing, the Lunokhod 2 took TV images of the surrounding area, then rolled down a ramp to the surface at 01:14 UT on January 16 and took pictures of the Luna 21 lander and landing site, driving for 30 meters. After a period of charging up its batteries, it took more pictures of the site and the lander, and then set off to explore the moon.

The rover would run during the lunar day, stopping occasionally to recharge its batteries with the solar panels. At night the rover hibernated until the next sunrise, heated by the radioactive source.”

This rugged robot still holds the record for distance driven on another planetary body.  It covered about 23 miles on its lunar trek.  By comparison, the Mars Exploration Rover, Opportunity, has traveled just over 12 miles. 

It is easy to forget sometimes that robots have been exploring space for decades, and although today’s machines are more capable in some ways, the explorer robots of the past accomplished some amazing feats considering the technology of the times.  You can read the complete story at the site linked to at the bottom of the page.  You can also click on the photo below for the article.

 LRO_Lunokhod_2

Photo Credit:  NASA

A Canadian researcher has helped solve a 37-year-old space mystery using lunar images released by NASA and maps from an atlas of the moon.

Russian lunar rover found: 37-year-old space mystery solved
(author unknown)
Wed, 17 Mar 2010 18:00:00 GMT

Robot Space Shuttle to Aim for Space Next

The X-37 is the designation for a robotic shuttle craft built to demonstrate reusable technologies for future spacecraft and perform on-orbit operations in the near term.  Starting as a NASA project and later taken over by the Air Force, this winged robot is slated to fly into space on April 19, 2010.  It has faced many delays in getting to this point, but it now appears ready to launch to orbit.  After insertion into its orbit by an Atlas V rocket, it may stay up for several months.  In fact, it is designed to remain in space for up to 9 months to accomplish its objectives.  And its objectives are a closely guarded secret by the Air Force.

Read more about this experimental robotic space shuttle in the article linked to below.

Robot Space Shuttle

Photo Credit:  The Register

Get more from this author Long-delayed plans by the US to deploy a small robot space shuttle appear now to be approaching fruition,

Robot mini space shuttle is go for April, says US air force
Register
Mon, 15 Mar 2010 13:07:18 GMT