Some pictures from the trip!
The last few days (Sunday-Tuesday) involved seeing a bunch of robotics labs at a university. I didn’t get photos of everything, but here are a few.
Above are two views of the nanofabrication laboratory - we didn’t get to go in (that would have been really cool) but we got a short tour from the outside. If you look closely at the pictures, you may be able to see holes in the floor - the air system replaces the entire air content of the rooms every few minutes. It’s impressive. The lab’s is actively used by hundreds of people to do research and development that needs nanometer or micrometer-sized equipment. Some of the tools are for imaging devices so small that it’s impossible to view them using any light microscope, regardless of the magnification.
Below are two views of a walking robot. There’s a reasonable chance that you saw the predecessor of this one online somewhere (if you’ve seen the videos of a robot running in a circle attached to a center post) - this one is different in that it doesn’t require a supportive tether. (It has one in this photo because it’s depowered, but it can stand and walk on its own.)
We got to see a set of fourteen robots that won something like a $750,000 prize in a competition in Australia where they mapped out an area and performed other functions more effectively than other robots. (Think robots helping military personnel in areas with rebel fighters.)
We also got to see some point-cloud recordings from a computer-controlled car, but the car wasn’t actually there so we couldn’t see that.
(Of course, I asked lots of questions about the electronics and software on all of these. Not that it’s all that unusual for me to be interested in those. I’m happy that I was able to understand a lot of the information.)
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Open Loop Pronking with RHex
Stable behavior uses a fixed splay angle between the legs, has minimal toe stubbing, and does not fully recirculate the legs. The outdoor behavior runs at about 1.68m/s with 26% duty factor, meaning that all of the legs are in the air 74% of the time.
World’s first family robot designed, stirring questions about social interaction
The concept is called “social robotics,” and it’s a field that Cynthia Breazeal has worked in for years. In fact, she has specifically been focusing on developing personal robots. The robot can currently perform functions such as take photos and videos, tracking …
and more »
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Norwegian engineer Kåre Halvorsen’s latest robotics project is the MorpHex MKII, a six-legged freak of a robot that can walk and roll around.
The way it morphs into different shapes is eerily similar to something out of the Transformers series.
While the MorpHex is a creepy hexapod robot, it is definitely not the first weird robot from Halvorsen.
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- 4 weeks ago
In case you haven’t heard (and considering the media coverage was disgustingly sparse, nobody would fault you if you haven’t)….
…a mind-controlled prosthesis - *ahem* ROBOTIC EXOSKELETON - "kicked off" the 2014 World Cup…literally!
The technology is the product of synergy between neuroscience and robotic applications through biomedical engineering, which has led to the advent of neuroprosthetics.
Developed by Duke University Ph.D./Neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis for the Walk Again Project - an international non-profit collaboration among the Duke University Center for Neuroengineering, Technical University of Munich, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Edmond and Lily Safra International Institute of Neuroscience of Natal in Brazil, University of California, Davis, University of Kentucky, and Regis Kopper of The Duke immersive Virtual Environment - which aim to, as Nicolelis asserts, “to galvanize people’s imaginations…and…make wheelchairs obsolete.”
History (Future?) has been made. Watch Sanjay Gupta (of CNN) report via his interview with Miguel Nicolelis.
From PopSci’s recent article on the technology:The exoskeleton — a system comprising a helmet implanted with a microchip that sticks out from the underside; a T-shirt loaded with sensors; metal leg braces; and a battery worn in a backpack — is set in motion when the user envisions himself making the kick. The chip translates those electronic commands to a digital language that powers the skeleton, which then moves accordingly. The T-shirt vibrates to enhance the user’s sensation of movement (and eliminate the need to look at his feet to see if he’s stepping forward).
The major advance over previous exoskeletal prostheses is how seamlessly the patient’s thoughts control the movements of the suit. Nicolelis says that “interaction between the brain and the exoskeleton becomes so vivid, so clear that [patients] feel like they are walking by themselves. The body is doing the job, not the exoskeleton.”
This has been 30+ years in the making, everyone. And it can’t be fully embraced with a brief Tumblr post. Read the thorough Washington Post article, and PopSci’s overview of the project, whereby Nicolelis conveys how important this is:Nicolelis is now developing a more advanced version of the exoskeleton that will operate via a microchip implanted directly into the user’s brain. A direct implant will collect more neuron data and sharpen the fluidity of movements. He expects the World Cup demonstration will generate the momentum needed to make devices using brain-machine interfaces commonplace in the near future. Eventually, he hopes, the suit will restore some self-reliance to stroke victims, car crash survivors, injured soldiers, or even elderly people at risk of falling.
“I have no doubt in 10 years that you’ll see people walking in the streets with these devices,” he says. “You basically show people that there is hope that this can come to fruition faster.” He believes that in 30 years an exoskeleton will enable a victim of paralysis to compete in the Olympics.
“When you have a goal, deadline attached, that’s worthwhile, you can gather the best minds in the world,” Nicolelis says. “That’s what we want to show the kids all over the world. Science can change the lives of a lot of people.”
Smile. This is what evolution by
natural selectionintelligent direction looks like. Watch (in Spanish/English) to see STEAM applied to reality.