Robots That Walk on Water…

December 11, 2007

As if the signature of books and practice of surgery on patients is not enough, the robot can walk on water, even with the engineers at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). What started as a project of the class, which three years ago ended insectlike mechanical robot from four to sixteen legs. The “mistake” of two to six inches long and weighs a few grams, may try next to waters, the reports IEEE Transactions on Robotics. Military service upswing for the surface tension on insects automatic dynamic viewing, the robots use water from the surface of the combined power of their legs thin as water striders, insects, which motivates the challenge.

Tension on the surface, the force that is the beautiful form of droplets to drop water, resists even breaks in the surface. That is why, for example, a thin needle to sew can appear on a sheet of paper, silk of water, and the needle is brisk, but the substance is saturated with water, and wells. This is very different from the vertical shear keeps the ships exchanged because of the difference of a vessel, the needle is on average denser than water and flows when nudged slightly downward. The experiment works better if the needle has a hydrophobic coating or impermeable as Teflon (such as the surface nonstickwanne cooking pots).

CMU water robot walkers use the motor voltage on the surface of a Teflon-coated, the legs of a few hundred micrometers in thickness and two to four inches in length to stand above the water. To move and rotate, they will use a “sculling movement, [which] in the first leg of the race is in the air, and during the race in reverse leg pushes water [but] never break the surface water,” says Chief Metin Sitti. That is exactly the way the water striders move, but the maximum speed of around five meters per second, compared to several centimeters per second for this robot.

What is it for their speed? Although the robot pump their legs much faster than the insects (40 times per second, as opposed to a maximum of 10 for the insects), the trains are much shorter, and beyond, the robot hundred times heavier than insects. “If you reduce the system, you have much more energy efficient and nimble,” said Sitti of insects’ speed.

But an increase in speed is not the only goal, only one leg introduced water strider can 15 times the weight of the insect, a mosquito leg while on the water can be 23 times the body weight, compared with only about half a body weight after one leg robot error. Furthermore, the insects are regularly below the water surface because of the rain and turbulence, but always successfully surface. Both capabilities are impressive because of microscopic hairs on their legs, which, in addition to its hydrophobic legs, the event also acts as an air cushion buoyancy characteristics or a life jacket. Sitti tried to imitate this function with the help of hair geckos’ feet on their robots’ legs; micro-production of synthetic bristles can come later. Searches also can use Teflon coating, the more hydrophobic, following the example Derjenigen, based on Gore boots.

The errors “are really cheap to manufacture, because they are very simple,” said Sitti, allowing for the selection of targets for many applications. In addition to its educational value and the entertainment, this robot can be used for monitoring the environment of ecosystems such as water, ponds and swamps. You can walk on water, which at one tenth of thumb, and have sensors on the information back to shore, the functioning minimalement invasive sensors, and the opening of a new form of listening.

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Japanese robot gets more life-like …

December 11, 2007

TOKYO (Reuters) – The white shiny robots, like a Inspired, and a man from the bed, and persuasion helped in preparing his breakfast with his dexterous hands in Tokyo on Tuesday, in a new sign, the robots are always people like More its inventor.

Twendy-one, named as the 21st Century issue before a robot, Wendy, the hands and fingers slightly soft, the grip, a sufficient strength to support people as they sit, and to imagine and flexible movements, which violate the human touch.

There can be a number of bread without crushed, and the support of people from toast of the night.

“This is the first robot in the world with so much on the integration of the system,” said Shigeki Sugano, a professor of mechanical engineering at Waseda University, the leadership of the Twendy-A Project (http://twendyone. Com), and shows the result on Tuesday.

“It is difficult to present a balanced strength flexible.”

The robot is a little shorter than the average Japanese woman to 1.5 meters (5 feet), but hard is 111 kg (245 pounds). His arms and a long face in the form of a giant bean crushed mean, as in the foreign film character DB

Twendy-One had almost seven years and a budget of several million dollars to collect all the elements of high technology, including the ability to speak and 241 of the pressure in each wrapped silicon sensors in the robot soft and flexible.

The robot on the grill plate and ketchup recovered from a refrigerator when she asked, after his salvation patient for the demonstration robot with a “hello” and “good appetite”.

Sugano said that he hoped the acquisition of a financially robots that help the elderly and perhaps working in the office in 2015 with a price of about $ 200000th

But at the moment it is still a work in progress. Twendy-Man has just 15 minutes of the battery autonomy and his return from computer to overheat trend after each use.

“The robot is so complicated that even for us, it is difficult to move,” said Sugano.


Robo-doc To Start Making Ward Rounds At St Mary’s Hospital.

December 6, 2007


St. Mary’s NHS Trust and Imperial College in London put in the test a system in which the robot quarter to cover medical rounds.

Presence distance learning (FP6) robot so that an expert medical examination visually and with a patient from anywhere in the world, via the machine, with the wireless technology. The robots (nicknamed by staff Sister Mary and Dr Robbie) can also be used to teaching in surgery, and even video conferences.

The robots are supported by a controller from a remote server. The doctor ‘, the robot can the patient to ask questions, and read the files of patients, the X-ray and the results of tests on the console. The patient sees the doctor the image on the robots’ face ‘. Although the robot does not physically examine the patient, it allows you to contact between a doctor and his patient, with a direct access to specialists.

Healthy Parv, Project Manager, Department of Surgery Chancellor doctor and researcher, said the advantages include patients, the direct access of experts from around the World, and for the doctor who performed the operation, even if it does not, from the head Physically end of the patient.

“When an expert at a conference in California but their medical is for the St. Mary’s patient or to present a lecture to the physicians of the FP6 robot is a fast connection and the world and at any time of day and by night.

“Our robots certainly never replace all doctors of the places around, but they are a means of communication, with a doctor that a direct contact with their patients if they are unable to work for them.

“If we have a lot of tension on the NHS many doctors currently providing high qualifications and skills are needed to participate in several places simultaneously. There is a solution, possibly, their expertise and can be removed, an important step for the supply of the patients. “

The robots are designed for the examination in a district general surgery and A & E department within the St Mary’s Hospital and for the purposes of training, of Imperial College in academic and clinical skills of the unit. It is the only one in Britain and one of a handful of the World, the one in Europe and three in the United States.

The FP6 robot is the last part of the pioneer in the integration of robots in health care by Professor Sir Ara Darzi, Head of the Department of Surgery Imperial, anesthesiology and intensive care, and a surgeon who is in St. Mary’s.

Professor Sir Ara Darzi adds: “It is a revolutionary concept, a new way of telemedicine and provides research with health care at the local level, increasing the interface between patients, the doctors and teachers.”

Under this pilot project, a study is under way to the way in which patients react to robots, the necessary skills required for the remote control tele-presence and advice of the potential applications of the technology in the provision of clinical services and training .


Rescue Robot Tests To Offer Responders High-tech Help.

December 6, 2007


National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) of the engineers organize the fourth in a series of robotic response assessments for the years of search and rescue operations (U.S. & R) speakers, the June 18-22, 2007, Texas A & M’s ” Disaster City “training installation College Station, Texas.

These events, sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the technologies of Science, the robot test performance on the new test methods using standardized scenarios for the training of the teams’ urgency. The results are used to the test, and preparation of guidelines for use, the specific kinds of R & U.S. robot before disaster scenarios.

This process will focus on two disaster scenarios urban education. A simulation of structural collapse of a building of local actors can unfold the robots in the search for the victims and to help “, the structure safe for the actors, of these victims. This requires robots to deal with a series of challenges since it through the rooms and semiprivate walls of the structure collapsed, slope, the rubble and empty, while the search for victims. The robots are providing the sensors of high technology such as laser scanner, about the size and shape of the inside empty, the structural engineers set étançonnement.

The participants will also robot to investigate a “dull / derailment,” with a package of travelers, and a step in the industry HAZMAT tankers transporting substances unknown. The unknown dangers of the incident must urgently to work to a distance of 150 m (500 feet). In this scenario, the robot to cross tracks, the wreck of the rubble and the mapping of the stage, look in the windows to locate the victims to find and identify the dangerous leaks oil sector signs describing the content.

Some of the robots can also samples of unknown substances for the investigation, without himself and controlled from a distance of safety. This exercise, the robot on the ground, the people very quick, mobile phones or even throwable, and the robot can avoid that a broad field far away from a network operator. The robot is the focus of a variety of sensors, including color cameras, transmitters for two-way audio, imageurs thermal, chemical sensors, 3D Systems and mapping of GPS, and the partnership with geographic information systems (GIS).

Robot developers and distributors receive these exercises first-hand what that learning is urgently needed in order to operate efficiently and safely, and to get on their systems implementations in the simulations. The emergency teams to receive the benefits of working with a wide range of solutions with high technology within their own scenarios for the use and the focus on the robot developers to their needs.

Both benefit from the new standard test methods robot under development in response to these exercises, which give you a way to measure and compare the performance of the robot, in order to help understand the parties to the advantages and disadvantages of certain properties, and in order to measure and compare Bachelor operator in the execution of critical tasks by remote control interfaces.

This response robot evaluation exercise is locally by the Texas A & M Engineering Extension Service of Texas and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the team work (TX-TF1).


Guessing Robots Predict Their Environments

December 6, 2007


Engineers at Purdue University developing countries are in a position of the robot “guess” about what we expected, since it through unknown, reduces the amount of time that he needs in order to successfully navigate in these environments.

The method works with the help of an algorithm, new software, with the assistance of a robot partly cards in circulation, as it is in a for the first time. The robot will be on this card partially predict what awaits us.

The repeated exposure to the environment, the accurate prediction and it is easy to navigate, in which robots with success, said CS George Lee, a Purdue professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, which specializes in robotics.

“This is the navigation easier, a garage with this card, because every floor is identical or very similar, and the same could be some so-called office building,” he said.

Both simulated and robotic effectively used in the search for information about a laser range finder to measure and distance sensor for the environment and the creation of tickets for the drawing.

The algorithm is an approach called SLAM, which emerged in the years 1980. The name SLAM, for the simultaneous localization and mapping, was invented in 1990 by Hugh F. Durrant -Whyte and John J. Leonard, and the engineers at the University of Oxford, United Kingdom.

SLAM used data from sensors for the orientation of a robot, with the maps of the immediate surroundings. Since the new method used to predict the cards, which we expected, it is P-SLAM.

“The effectiveness depends on the presence of features repeated, and similar types of symmetric structures, such as walls rights, right-angle bends, and a presentation by the same premises,” said Lee. “This technique allows a robot, an assessment of the future, the proportion of the environment already drawn.”

The research findings were detailed in a document published in April in IEEE Transactions in the robotics, published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. This document was signed by the PhDs Jacky H. Chang, Lee, Professor Yung – Hsiang Lu and Professor Y. Charlie Hu, while in Purdue’s School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

Potential applications include robotics, and in particular the military and fighting robot, which according to the buildings and other environments.

The Purdue researchers tested their algorithm in both robots and simulated robot in a real sailing the course in a building on the campus of Purdue. Conclusions have shown that the simulation of a robot with the algorithms could navigate the labyrinth, practically everything to explore 33 in percent less environment, which normally should be required.

The future expansion of the concept, four robots, a team, working like ants to an unknown environment, the information about the progress of wireless network. The researchers are also working on the creation of an object on the forecast, “admits things like doors and chairs, as well as to strengthen the robot” energy efficiency.

Robots work without the knowledge in the cards must be fully on the sensors for the leadership on the environment. These sensors are, but sometimes inaccurate, and mechanical errors of the robot durchstreifend something.

The algorithm of robots can to correct this error, which is on the map, the navigation with greater precision and efficiency.

“If the robot is a successively a corner, we say there is a degree of mechanical error, and it runs a little too strong or not strong enough,” said Lee. “Then, when the robot to travel further to the right, that small error is a very big mistake navigation system in the future.”

The search was launched by the National Science Foundation.

In the works, Purdue students in a conception of the class have a prototype of fire-fighting robot called Firebot.


Coaching Computer Canines In Clambering.

December 6, 2007


The other is made of metal, the size of the toy caniches, with four feet pointed ended little balls. They must learn their way to this little walk through a traitor rocky terrain broken. University of Southern California usually Stefan Schaal, the extension of the $ 1.5 million DARPA contract for the training to do so.

Schaal, a professor at the USC Viterbi School technical department of Computer Science, has been working on the problem more than a year ago.

Four legs and the robot were six years to achieve, he noted, but only on smooth surfaces where the wheels are moving more efficiently.

“What you really want robots for the feet, the negotiations on a difficult terrain,” he says. “This project is to push the envelope”.

Boston Dynamics built “robot with a computer chip on the board sensors.

The robot is constantly on the position of the middle of the gravity.The strategy for the way it into a document Schaal, in the 2007 IEEE International Conference of Robotics and Automation, were “fundamental right to go generator with the selection of Each plant foot as the gravitational center… follows a trajectory stable. “

To achieve this, the robot calculates where and how it should be “based on the current position, velocity and acceleration” his legs. If neglected, print, the dog learns from mistakes and seek another way the next time.

After 15 months of trials, refers organs mechanical dog with a speed of about one month, but everyone, the economy experiences on the electronic Schaal-dogs can now move, but not very fast: Travels on 1, 6 centimeters per second, a little faster as the old, T. 1.2 cm / s of the old March Sojourner robot.

The objective in the next phase of the study is the tripling twice the speed and difficulty of the terrain, the dogs not only by the rocks, but the rise of rocky soil with a steep.

If this can be achieved, “he says, the programming is moving ever more mechanical dogs.

Schaal is in competition with five other laboratories in universities and R & D in the country. The first part of the study, which studied Schaal Dipl Dimitris Pongas (CS Ph.D. 07) made important contributions.

How is the bark? “As soon as they can run, I will be for them to bark,” says Schaal.


Robotic Arm Inspired By Elephants.

December 6, 2007


Robotic arms are expensive to build and operate dangerous. If a robot shortcomings of the system, the people will be injured. That is not the case ISELLA, a bionic robot arm, the nature of the handbag and gently with the people. A bull in a box served as inspiration for the design.

It is a long, gray, smooth and with no less than 40000 muscles, which are very nimble. An elephant requires access to her chest and articles for the drink. With their tribes, the pachyderms may trees and pull heavy loads, but also in a position to manipulate the execution of very dangerous. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Automation IPA in Stuttgart, the elephants in the trunk, as a concept. “The flexibility and agility gave us the idea of a bionic arm robotics, ISELLA” says Harald Staab, IPA, the researchers and inventors developed technology.

Robotic arms are often a risk for the operator-a technology that can contribute to the clutch wild, uncontrolled movements. Not so ISELLA. While conventional weapons robots have only a machine to drive each articulated, ISELLA two, in pairs, if the engine fails, the second, to prevent the uncontrolled. “In contrast to the hydraulically or pneumatically actuated systems, robotics our arms has a simple and cheap muscular, consisting of a small electric motor with a drive shaft and a rope, Staab said.

In the same way an attachment of the tendon of a muscle on the other hand, the cable links two parts. The drive shaft is in the middle of the cord. If the shaft is running around the cable in both directions, a kind of double-helix. The researchers have christened this DOHELIX. “The tree is not thicker than the power cord, but is stable enough to fight the demolition.

Therefore, on report for the submission of a conventional oriented, “says Staab. This has been done with the help of elastic materials with a very strong resistance to the crack-the type of material used to manufacture the sailboat Suspended and motorized. Correspondingly DOHELIX is much cheaper energy and that a vicious circle. Zugkraft His many orders of magnitude than its own weight, and the reader is referred to the DOHELIX concept Can in other applications on all levels, from the micro-scale muscles of cranes container terminals in seaports.

The ISELLA arms robot consists of a total of ten DOHELIX the muscles with a Beuger and an extender for each articulation, four, in the elbow and six in the upper arm. The robotic arm is as flexible as a human arm. “Currently we are working on the elbow,” says Staab. Possible applications for ISELLA include medical rehabilitation, as in therapy to restore use of the members injured, and at low cost, flexible prostheses. Such devices are used in the trade in a period of about two years, Staab estimates.