Plants May Supply Unique Materials for Robotic Actuators

Robotic Apple with WormIt’s always fascinating to me that one of the best sources for new ideas in robotics is nature.  Here is another case where living organisms have provided a model for mechanisms in a robot.  In this article from Nanowerk News (click the link below for the full article),  the research leading to this application is detailed.

There are many examples of robots built on the basis of some animal, insect, or plant.  Some examples are snakebots, robofish, and even robobees.  Nature is simply one of the best models for roboticists to follow.

What is your favorite biomimetic robot?  Let me know your ideas.

Engineers developing moveable robot components may soon take advantage of a trick plants use. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam and Harvard University in Cambridge (USA) have devised porous materials that could serve as actuators, or motors.

Read More: Materials modelled after plants may help robots to move more naturally

Source:  Nanowerk

Snakebot For Your Heart

A snakebot is being prepared to carry-out cardiac surgery by a team of doctors at Cardiorobotics.  Their version of the snakebot is known are ARM or Articulated Robotic Medprobe.  It is a teleoperated robot consisting of a series of links.  In an earlier post on August 10, 2009, I wrote about this snakebot for heart surgery being developed at the Newport, Rhode Island company.  Because of the snakebot’s ability to bend into many shapes, it is being developed to assist in delicate surgeries.  Check out the stories below.  You can see a video of the original version of this snakebot surgeon on You Tube.

Snakebot for Cardiac Surgery


The central element of our technology is a teleoperated probe consisting of a series of links.  The probe is highly flexible and thus either assumes the shape of its surroundings or can be reshaped. 

This teleoperated, highly articulated probe with a non-linear lumen is called an Articulated Robotic MedProbe or ARM™.

Cardiorobotics Closes $11.6M Series A Financing to Advance Clinical Development of Snake Robot for Surgery

Tue, 15 Dec 2009 11:38:00 GMT

Weekly Newswrap

At the end of another week, I found several stories deserving of a mention in this Newswrap.  There is no unifying theme to the listing for the last few days, but, of course, it was impossible to go a week without at least one snakebot article.  And, it is creepy and incredible all in one.  This robotic snake is being developed for heart surgery by researchers at the University of Pittsburg.  You can check out the video at You Tube of the snakebot being readied for heart surgery on a pig.  The rest of the articles deal with the usual array of subjects for robotics these days.  There is the one from today on RFID robots that brings up the Terminators analogy (again), and the latest robotic invention from Japan—a robot sunflower.  Make sure and check out the farming robots from the Netherlands for a great non-military application of robots.  Of course, there is the warning about killer bots within 40 years in the post from

Rise of the RFID Robots

Sure, Hollywood's Terminators are more powerful (albeit malicious), but the Georgia robots are real. And what makes them so interesting—even fascinating—is
See all stories on this topic

Rise of the RFID Robots
RFID Journal
Sun, 09 Aug 2009 17:03:12 GMT

Farming Robots Have a Field Day in Netherlands

But a swarm of small robots could quite possibly replace these agricultural giants in farming of the future. Wageningen University Agricultural Professor
See all stories on this topic

Farming Robots Have a Field Day in Netherlands
Sun, 09 Aug 2009 00:44:17 GMT

Cardiorobotics, Developer of Snake Robot Technology, Aims to Alter …

The future of heart surgery is in something called a snake robot, at least according to the people at Newport, RI-based Cardiorobotics. We decided to check it.
Xconomy –

Cardiorobotics, Developer of Snake Robot Technology, Aims to Alter …
Eric Hal Schwartz
Thu, 06 Aug 2009 06:04:29 GMT

Sunflower robot doesn’t need sun

In this article by Tim Hornyak, he explores how it is that Japan loves its baroque, impractical machines, with Honda's zillion-dollar humanoid robot ASIMO being the acme example.
See all stories on this topic

Sunflower robot doesn't need sun
Wed, 05 Aug 2009 05:03:21 GMT

US Predicts Killer Robots 40 Years Away, Raises Ethics Debate

Science fiction legend Isaac Asimov predicted a world in which many robot-like machines would be an integral part of human life.
See all stories on this topic

US Predicts Killer Robots 40 Years Away, Raises Ethics Debate
Tue, 04 Aug 2009 23:04:59 GMT

Israel’s New Robots Modeled on Animals’ Movements

Returning to one of my favorite subjects, here is a post I found on robots designed from biological models.   The robot pictured below is a snakebot.  Israeli robot builders seem to love serpents as a model for robots.  Click on the serpents link above to see an earlier post on RobotNext about an Israeli Defense Forces robot that is to be used for recon missions.

NY1's Technology performer Adam Balkin filed the report this story is taken from.  The innovative robots were developed by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel. Their creator, Amir Shapiro, finds inspiration in nature.  Specifically, he studies how animals move.  "We actually look at nature and try to copy but we cannot copy exactly because we have different materials and actuators," says Shapiro. "So we try to mimic nature — it's called biomimetics."

He has created two robotic snakes for search and rescue missions.  One of his creations can climb nearly vertical surfaces such a metal ship hull by using magnets to attach to the surface.  In the story, Shapiro shows other robots that he is working with that are based on LEGO NXT kits.  He makes the point that robots can be developed and build using very inexpensive materials.  Computing power is readily available, so very innovative robots can be build by anyone with the necessary knowledge and skill.

His point is well taken.  Robots have a use where the environment is too dangerous for humans, but robots also have a role to play in recreation.  To see one of the robot snakes in action, click on the video credit link below.

Video Credit:  NY1

New Israeli Robots Move Like Animals
A robot builder from Israel says he often draws inspiration from actual animals when designing metal ones. NY1's Technology performer Adam Balkin filed the

New Israeli Robots Move Like Animals – NY1 

by Adam Balkin
Thu, 23 Jul 2009 15:45:03 GMT

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