Robots Powered by Waves on Missions to Help Humans Understand Oceans

Here is a story about a unique robot able to harvest energy from the environment.  Using a patented system of cables and fins, the robot is able to use waves in the ocean to propel itself through the water.  There is a diagram explaining the system at the Liquid Robotics website.  Wave Glider has so many possible applications that it is difficult to list them all, but a few of the missions this bot can carry out are environmental sensing, monitoring whales, and collecting ocean surface data.  Read the article below for more on this amazing robot. Could a land-based robot do the same sort of thing and draw its power from the environment?  Let me know what you think.


Photo Credit: Treehugger

Liquid Robotics: Wave-powered robots serving diverse missions
SYS-CON Media (press release) (blog)
Liquid Robotics produces a wave-powered robot called the Wave Glider. This unmanned maritime vehicle (UMV) holds great promise in enhancing human understanding of the oceans, which will enable us to be better stewards of the essential resources it

Other article sources
Shark Attacks Liquid Robotics' Wave-Powered Robot Treehugger
all 3 news articles »

Liquid Robotics: Wave-powered robots serving diverse missions – SYS-CON Media (press release) (blog)
Fri, 17 Jun 2011 07:02:21 GMT

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

Robot Butler Serves Up Snacks: Is This a Problem?

A robot butler can't be a bad thing, can it?  After all, we would all like to be waited on by a servant, especially one that can be shut down if it gives you any problems. So, just make sure that it can be turned off!  This is not a new robot, in fact the machine made its debut at Carnegie Mellon University back in September of 2009.  You can go back and look at the story done here on RobotNext about this snackbot.   Also, follow the links below to see the article from the guardian.co.uk by Charles Arthur.

       snackbot

    Credit:  Guardian.co.uk|The Observer

"The robot butler has a long and frequently chequered history. From    Robbie the Robot in Forbidden Planet (who could bring a nicely shaken  martini) through to HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey (which served  food via a hatch, then later killed you), the idea that there must be a  better method of getting refreshments handed out than making a person  push a trolley is one that just won't go away."

via www.guardian.co.uk

GM, NASA Build Robot Named R2

Robonaut2, or R2, as it is known, is the most advanced dextrous robot yet developed.  Built by NASA and General Motors, this robot will be able to work along side an astronaut or an autoworker.  The idea is to have the ability to work in space where it may be too dangerous for humans in some places, and to work with humans in an auto production plant to improve efficiency. GM and NASA have been long-time collaborators.  GM worked with NASA on the Lunar Rover for the Apollo moon programs.  Read the story at the link below for more details about this robot.

Two Robonaut 2 

Credit: NASA/GM

Robonaut2, or R2, is able to use its hands to do work beyond the scope of previously introduced humanoid robots. It surpasses previous dextrous humanoid
See all stories on this topic

GM, NASA build advanced dextrous robot
Creamer Media's Engineering News
Tue, 16 Feb 2010 10:36:44 GMT

Mars Rover Spirit Update

In an update of the Mars rover's situation, the flight controllers have indicated that the plans will switch to surviving the upcoming Martian winter rather than trying to extricate Spirit from the sand trap where it is stuck.  The story from Cosmic Log is linked to below.  Follow that link to read the post. 

    "Right now the rover is embedded … we do not believe it's extractable," Doug     McCuistion, director of NASA's Mars Exploration Program, said today during a     teleconference. "Right now the worry is about getting through the winter."

via cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com

Robotic Insects Could DASH to the Rescue

The Dynamic Autonomous Sprawled Hexapod (DASH) is being outfitted to locate victims that are trapped in rubble.  RobotNext posted a blog on this invention back in October 2009.  This is a cockroach-inspired robot that can move quickly and speedily like its model.  Also, like its insect model, it can fall great distances and survive to run again.  You can see the video on You Tube of this robo-roach in action.  Check out the story below for the complete story.

motorcrawler roachbot

Credit:  Biomimetic Millisystems Lab and UC Berkeley via ZDnet

Paul Birkmeyer, the graduate student who designed the robots, shows his creation. Researchers are trying to add cameras and detectors that can locate people's breath. DASH (Dynamic Autonomous Sprawled Hexapod) is a resilient high-speed 16-gram …

Robotic Insects Could Help In Search, Rescue Efforts – Daily Californian
(author unknown)
Fri, 22 Jan 2010 09:05:00 GMT