Archives for December 2009

Laser-Guided Robots Milk Cows

The Carman Valley Leader has this story on robots that are helping to run a high-tech dairy farm.  In the photo below a robot assists the cattle by pushing the feed towards them.  Other robots actually milk the cows.  They target in on the cow’s udders using laser guidance.  And they are persistent, they never give up in their quest to get the milk!  This does not look like my uncle’s dairy farm for sure.  Take a look at the story be following the link below.

Photo by Glen Hallick

Robots are replacing milking machines at Halarda Farms owned by the Borst family.

The large dairy operation northwest of Elm Creek hosted a Nov. 20 open house. Guests were given tours of the dairy, including the barns with robot milkers.

Halarda has eight of these stationary machines each guided by three lasers on to the cows' udders.

Laser guided robots milk cows
(author unknown)
Fri, 04 Dec 2009 07:24:14 GMT

Trying to Dig Out, Mars Robot Digs Into a Discovery

Sometimes the biggest discoveries come through by accident.  Spirit, the Mars robotic rover stuck in a patch of loose Martian soil, has churned–up something interesting.  Bright, fluffy material covered by a dark crust.  To see what this might mean, check out the article from


Credit: JPL/NASA via PhysOrg

Spirit surveys its own predicament. The bright soil pictured left is loose, fluffy material churned by the rover's left-front wheel as Spirit, driving backwards, broke through a darker, crusty surface. At right is the least-embedded of the rover's …

Sandtrapped Rover Makes a Big Discovery – PhysOrg
(author unknown)
Thu, 03 Dec 2009 21:45:00 GMT

Optical Sensors Give Robots’ Artificial Skin with Smooth Touch

An article posted at details the research of Belgium researchers who have developed a new type of artificial skin for robots.  This skin will be able to provide robots with a delicate touch more like a human’s.  The primary applications for this development will be in the area of surgical robots.  Future medical robots will be able to perform more delicate and extensive surgeries than current models.  What makes this skin possible is the use of optical sensors rather than the electomechanical type used now.  Besides the article linked to above, Popular Science has the story.  Check out the links below.

Popular Science

Optical Sensors in Robots' Skin Give Them A Softer Touch
Popular Science
Thankfully, researchers at the University of Ghent, Belgium, have solved the problem of delicate robot touch. Unlike the mechanical sensors currently used
and more »

Optical Sensors in Robots' Skin Give Them A Softer Touch – Popular Science
(author unknown)
Tue, 01 Dec 2009 22:58:26 GMT

Robotic Clam Developed for Deep Sea Projects

Of all the creatures on Earth that I thought could be models for robots, I never would have picked the clam.  But now, mechanical engineers Anette "Peko" Hosoi and Amos Winter at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have done just that.  They chose to emulate the Atlantic razor clam, also known as the Atlantic Jackknife Clam (Ensis directus) because it is one of nature's best diggers.  Robot clams may one day help dig up and detonate buried underwater mines, researchers now reveal. They could also serve as smart anchors for robot subs or deep-sea oil drilling.  You can read more at in the article by Charles Q. Choi.


 Credit: Donna Coveney

A new Roboclam developed by scientists can help in deep sea drilling projects.

Robotic Clam Could Detonate Underwater Mines
(author unknown)
Tue, 01 Dec 2009 16:07:41 GMT