Biology is a big source of inspiration for engineers and roboticists, and this story presents another example of it: A robot with touch-sensitive whiskers, which will (hopefully) allow it and other robots in the future to find their way in the dark, without having to rely on sonar or lidar systems. The video’s really cute, too.
Tag Archives: robots
Wired UK has a lovely video of a swarm of mini-robots that are controlled by a wand, which links into a wireless system that makes the robots behave as if they were particles suspended in a fluid. Watch the video, it’s really cool.
Very small robots are something that scientists and engineers have been trying to make work for a while now. The uses for small, mobile machines are myriad, but it’s so hard to cram everything necessary for a robot to function (brain, power source, sensors, and the motors necessary to move) that the field hasn’t seen many marketable advances.
Which is why this story in Gizmag is so interesting. A researcher at SRI has essentially simplified the idea of microrobots, turning the “robots” into nothing more than the hands of an external system. But! if that system can use magnetic levitation and precise control to move those hands exactly where it wants them (to build stuff, for example – check out the videos embedded in the story!) then it’s a far better system than building massively complex and fault-prone individual robots, right?
How do you truck supplies across Antarctica? And how do you build a massive solar farm in the Sahara? One answer: robots! A story in PopSci describes robots built to do tasks in the harshest environments in the world. How long until we see similar ones in less inhospitable areas?
Well, turns out that robot snake I posted a link to a while ago isn’t quite as far from completion as I’d thought. They’re using one (admittedly, a rather clunky verion) in search-and-rescue exercises alongside a dog.
Sometimes it’s just cheaper to have a robot do it. Keeping track of fish and marine mammals as they move through the ocean normally requires a manned vessel, which costs massive amounts of money (the old adage “a ship is a hole in the water that you pour money into” is all too true). Now, however, a new robotic ship/canoe/thing has been developed that can track what’s moving in the ocean, possibly for months at a time, at a much smaller cost compared to a manned ship survey.
This is another one that’s still very much “under development,” but working prototypes have been made and tested, so it’s very possible that we’ll be seeing these in widespread use in a few years.