Weekly Newswrap

For this week’s newswrap, there are four stories.  First, from Saturday, is the article about the chemical-detecting robot built by a high school student as a science fair project.  Read the article to find out how it was done.  And yes, it was made from LEGOs!  Second, there is a story on a biologically inspired robot. This one is built by the US Navy to clean barnacles from the bottom of ship’s hulls.  The BUG or Bio-inspired Underwater Grooming robot works by using suction to attach to the hull of a ship.  Third is a post on snakebots.  (I couldn’t let the week go by without a snakebot!)  Of course, it is from Carnegie Mellon and the story has great details on the snakebots developed there.  Finally, there are the Tai Chi robots from Beijing.  Watch the video to see the robots in action.

High School Student Develops Chemical-Detecting Robot – Ethiopian Review

High School Student Develops Chemical-Detecting Robot
Ethiopian Review
You made THAT with Legos!,” exclaimed the children who crowded around my robot on Public Day at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair this

High School Student Develops Chemical-Detecting Robot – Ethiopian Review
(author unknown)
Sat, 26 Sep 2009 23:51:18 GMT

US Navy's Bio-inspired Underwater Grooming Robot

The US Navy is trying to save some money by making their ships more fuel efficient. Keeping a ship's hull free of barnacles, oysters, algae, and other marine life can decrease fuel consumption by up to 40 percent and increase speed by 10 percent. To do the job of cleaning, or "grooming", a vessel's hull, the Office of Naval Research has developed the Bio-inspired Underwater Grooming (BUG) robot (PDF format). The BUG is an autonomous robot that uses negative pressure vortex regenerative fluid movement (which civilians refer to as "suction") to stick to the hull of a ship. Four wheels drive it forward while sensors including biofilm detectors and flourometers allow it to avoid obstacles and plan paths that will take it toward fouled surfaces. The Navy hopes BUGs will be online by 2015, saving up $500 million in maintenance costs per ship while reducing the Navy's carbon footprint. The robot could also be used on non-military ships and yachts. For more info, see the ONR news release.

US Navy's Bio-inspired Underwater Grooming Robot
Wed, 23 Sep 2009 16:42:46 GMT

Robotic Snakes The Future of Things


Carnegie Mellon's Robotic Snake 
(Source: Carnegie Mellon University) via TFOT

Robotic Snakes
The Future of Things
TFOT has previously covered the Snake-Inspired Military Robot, developed by IDF, and Serpentine Climbing Robots, developed by RoMeLa of the College of

Robotic Snakes – The Future of Things
Tue, 22 Sep 2009 22:26:37 GMT

T'ai Chi robots to rule the world? – CNET News

T'ai Chi robots to rule the world?
Humanoid robots developed at the Beijing Institute of Technology can do more than perform T'ai Chi maneuvers and answer simple questions

T'ai Chi robots to rule the world? – CNET News
Tue, 22 Sep 2009 07:36:49 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 PhysOrg.com

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
and more »

Swimming robot mimics Amazonian fish – Computerworld
Tue, 22 Sep 2009 05:00:33 GMT

Snake Robots to Become More Intelligent

If researchers in Norway are successful, a more intelligent snakebot could be crawling its way up a pipe near you.  Scientists at SINTEF in Norway are working to make snake robots as smart as a teenager.  These robotic snakes have many possible applications besides inspecting pipes.  One possibility is that of acting as a robotic fire hose.  The snakebot could use the high pressure water in the hose as its power source and as the fire extinguisher.  Of course, these types of robots are also being explored as possible search and rescue devices since they could reach areas inaccessible to other more conventional machines.  See one of the previous posts here at RobotNext on snakebots.  Read the complete article at PhysOrg.com.  Follow the links below. 

Image source: PhysOrg.com

The robot children
The brains of the snake robots are still no more advanced than that of a one-year-old, but scientists at SINTEF (Norway) want to bring them up to the level

The robot children – PhysOrg.com
Tue, 15 Sep 2009 18:07:30 GMT

Robot Serpent for the Battlefield

Snakebots are back in the news again, but this time as a weapon.  RobotNext has posted articles about robot snakes that have been developed with the purpose of traversing difficult terrain or tight places in order to perform mostly humanitarian or rescue purposes.  This robot will save lives in a different way.  According to the Jerusalem Post, this snakebot is controlled by a soldier with a laptop computer.  In a demonstration of its abilities, it was shown slithering along in caves, tunnels, and buildings as it transmitted video and sound back to the controller.  Check out the article links below for the complete story.

The new IDF robot snake
Photo: Channel 2

Israeli Defense Force Creates Robot Snake To Use On Battlefield
Jerusalem, Israel (AHN) – The Israeli Defense Force has created a "robot snake" capable of recording video and sound on the battlefield. The technologically advanced snake, which is about two meters long and covered in army camouflage,
'Robot Snake' Offers A New Wave In Military Spy Technology ChattahBox
IDF developing battlefield robot snake Jerusalem Post
Submitted by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 09, @03:32PM Slashdot
New Zealand Herald
all 15 news articles

Israeli Defense Force Creates Robot Snake To Use On Battlefield – AHN
Tue, 09 Jun 2009 18:34:43 GMT

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