Chances are that you’ve never given much thought to how insects walk, or what combination of leg movements–or gaits–is most stable or fastest, but, if like a group of scientists from Ramdya, Floreano and Ijspeert labs, NCCR Robotics, you are trying to create fast and robust robots, taking inspiration some of nature’s most agile movers might give you just the inspiration you need.
Engineers at MIT have fabricated transparent, gel-based robots that move when water is pumped in and out of them. The bots can perform a number of fast, forceful tasks, including kicking a ball underwater, and grabbing and releasing a live fish.
Design company After the Flood team-up with author Lloyd Shepherd and illustrator Eunike Nugroho to offer a speculative glimpse of first-contact between a 21st century explorer and a host of wild robots. Are they friend or foe? Where do they come from and what controls them? If we saw one for the first time tomorrow, what would we tell our friends?
In this episode, Audrow Nash interviews Domenico Prattichizzo, Professor of Robotics at the University of Siena and Senior Scientist at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia in Genova in Italy, about a device for assisting people who have lost the use of one of their hands, for example by a stroke. The device is an extra finger that functions to press an object into the paralyzed hand so that it can be grasped.
Ask a child to design a robot, and they’ll produce a drawing that looks a little like you or I—the parts may be gray and boxy, but it will have two arms, two legs, and a head (probably with an antenna coming out of the top). Starting from the beginning of robotics, the human form has seemed like an excellent starting point. One of the best places to draw inspiration for robotic design, however, is the kingdom of insects, arachnids, snails, and slugs.
In this episode, Abate De Mey interviews Edward Neff, founder of SMAC Corporation. Mr. Neff discusses how breakthroughs in his company have allowed them to develop linear actuators compact enough to be used to actuate robotic fingers. Companies like Apple and Samsung push for the development of robotic fingers to perform lifelike tests on their phones.
Robotics is becoming more accessible for many people, but the complexities of legged robots mean they remain beyond the reach of most consumers. The complex mechanics, electronics and code algorithms make these robots much more difficult to simply get working. Four legged robots are especially difficult, they might seem very stable but simply lifting a leg up can cause the robot to fall.
QuadBot is an open-source, 3D printed robot that aims to change this.
In this roundtable edition, we watched the Black Mirror episode “Hated in the Nation” and asked our Robohub team members: with many institutions focused on developing aerial drone technology, and in light of the pressing reality of climate change and bee colony collapse, do we see robotic bees in our future? Would swarms of artificial insects even be desirable?
In this episode, Audrow Nash interviews Dieter Fox, Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington, about the 100/100 Computer Vision Tracking Challenge. This is a self-imposed challenge to understand 100% of the pixels in an image 100% of the time in video footage; this includes understanding semantic information. Such understanding would allow robots to assist humans more naturally in environments like a home kitchen, wet lab, or in disaster response. To accomplish this challenge, Fox discusses challenges which include modeling, tracking, and detecting articulated objects.
In this episode, Ron Vanderkley interviews Jürgen “Juxi” Leitner, a researcher at the ARC Centre of Excellence in Robots Vision in the Queensland University of Technology in Australia. Leitner speaks about a system being developed for the Google Lunar XPrize, called LunaRoo.
In this episode, Audrow Nash interviews Hugh Herr, Director of the Biomechatronics Group at MIT. Herr talks about the accident that led to the amputation of both of his legs below the knee and how this shaped his rock climbing and academic career. Herr also discusses orthoses and exoskeletons developed by his research group, as well as the future of bionic technology.
The idea of connecting brain-inspired models of computation to robots is probably as old as the discipline of robotics itself. Today, researchers are connecting robotics with neuroscience in order to both build intelligent robots and to better understand the brain. The workshop Advances in Biologically Inspired Brain-Like Cognition and Control for Learning Robots at IROS (Hamburg) brought together experts from diverse fields in brain-based robotics, neurorobotics, artificial neural networks and machine learning to discuss the state of the art.