Archives for September 22, 2009

Robot Floor Tiles Could Have Applications

Can you say Holodeck?  I always wondered how the human actors in a virtual reality world would move around in the pretend environment.  Now, I have a good idea.  

These tiles could provide the answer to contructing a realistic simulation experience.  If you watch the video of these tiles in action on You Tube, you will notice they move too slowly in their current state of development to make this idea work.  But, if they can be made to perform at a faster rate, and in a manner so that the walking human does not have wait for the tiles, then these could be an incredible development. 

Using a conductive fabric, the robotic tiles work by sensing the foot pressure and placement.  Ultrasonic sensors transmit the signals to a central processing unit that controls the tiles movements.  It seems to me that these tiles could have a practical use in addition to the possible virtual reality applications.  I could see a future moving sidewalk in an airport made of these tiles instead of the continuous belts used now.  

You can read the article at by following the link below.  Make sure to check out the video on You Tube.

Robot Floor Tiles Move Beneath Your Feet
The Robot Tiles provide an infinite walkway that might have applications in virtual reality. Credit: Hiroo Iwata. ( — In a stroke of odd
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Robot Floor Tiles Move Beneath Your Feet –
Tue, 22 Sep 2009 23:33:12 GMT

A New Swimming Robot Based on an Amazonian Fish

Anyone who reads RobotNext knows that one of my favorite topics is robots based on nature.  I believe that the field of bionics (or biomimetics) is where many of the next cutting-edge robot designs will originate.  So many current robots have animals as their models.  Many of these have been written about here.  You can find them in the nature section of the archives.  There are snakebots, fishbots, and ratbots, to name a few.  

This particular robot is based on the Amazonian Knifefish.  Dubbed the Gymnobot, this fishbot is designed to propel itself through the water using a fin.  With this robot, the researchers hope to prove the advantages of using a fin instead of a propellor for moving through the water.  Check out this story at the link to Computerworld below.

Fish Robot Gymnobot

Credit:  University of Bath via

Swimming robot mimics Amazonian fish

Last year, the Sintef Group, a research company based in Trondheim, Norway, announced that it was working on a robot based on snakes. The robots, which are
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Swimming robot mimics Amazonian fish – Computerworld
Tue, 22 Sep 2009 05:00:33 GMT

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