233 posts tagged robotics
Humans Appear Programmed to Obey Robots, Studies Suggest
Two 8-foot robots recently began directing traffic in the capital city of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kinshasa. The automatons are little more than traffic lights dressed up as campy 1960s robots—and yet, drivers obey them more readily than the humans previously directing traffic there. Maybe it’s because the robots are bigger than the average traffic cop. Maybe it’s their fearsome metallic glint. Or maybe it’s because, in addition to their LED signals and stilted hand waving, they have multiple cameras recording ne’er-do-wells. “If a driver says that it is not going to respect the robot because it’s just a machine the robot is going to take that, and there will be a ticket for him,” Isaie Therese, the engineer behind the bots, told CCTV Africa. The Congolese bots provide a fascinating glimpse into human-robot interaction. It’s a rather surprising observation that humans so readily obey robots, even very simple ones, in certain situations. But the observation isn’t merely anecdotal—there’s research on the subject. (Hat tip to Motherboard for pointing out a fascinating study for us robot geeks.) (via Humans Appear Programmed to Obey Robots, Studies Suggest | Singularity Hub)
Since the first industrial robot was used in 1961, the robot population has grown at an average rate of 375,000 per year. As of 2012, according to the International Federation of Robotics, there were an estimated 19.1 million robots in the world. That number could double in the next 3 years!
Hacker makes air hockey table from 3D printer parts
If you hated losing to the computer at Pong, then at least you could console yourself with the knowledge that the computer was on home turf; the contest took place in the computer’s ethereal realm of ones and naughts. Now, a project by Spanish tinkerer Jose Julio has given rise to a competitive, merciless air hockey machine that will lay bare your mortal frailties and beat you into submission on your own physical terms. What’s more, it’s built largely with 3D printer parts. (via Hacker makes air hockey table from 3D printer parts)
Animals Bow to Their Mechanical Overlords
Robots are infiltrating insect, fish, and bird communities—and seizing control.
Several years ago, a group of American cockroaches discovered four strangers in their midst. A brief investigation revealed that the interlopers smelled like cockroaches, and so they were welcomed into the cockroach community. The newcomers weren’t content to just sit on the sidelines, however. Instead, they began to actively shape the group’s behavior. Nocturnal creatures, cockroaches normally avoid light. But when the intruders headed for a brighter shelter, the rest of the roaches followed. What the cockroaches didn’t seem to realize was that their new, light-loving leaders weren’t fellow insects at all. They were tiny mobile robots, doused in cockroach pheromones and programmed to trick the living critters into following their lead. The demonstration, dubbed the LEURRE project and conducted by a team of European researchers, validated a radical idea—that robots and animals could be merged into a “biohybrid” society, with biological and technological organisms forming a cohesive unit. A handful of scientists have now built robots that can socially integrate into animal communities. Their goal is to create machines that not only infiltrate animal groups but also influence them, changing how fish swim, birds fly, and bees care for their young. If the research reaches the real world, we may one day use robots to manage livestock, control pests, and protect and preserve wildlife. So, dear furry and feathered friends, creepy and crawly creatures of the world: Prepare for a robo-takeover.
Who wouldn’t want to slip into Iron Man’s armor or try out the gigantic Jaegers that saved the world in the movie Pacific Rim? Wearable exoskeletons currently being built, from the military-based TALOS, XOS 2 and HULC to rehabilitative models like the ReWalk, MindWalker and X1, all have one thing in common; they are all robotic automated body suits designed to enhance or assist people. Is there a place for a skill-oriented, non-robotic walking exoskeleton, that a person would have to master physically by feel, much like how one might master riding a bicycle or using a skateboard? Jonathan Tippet thinks so. He and his team of volunteers are building Prosthesis, claimed to be the world’s first human-piloted racing robot. It’s a 5-meter (16-ft) tall behemoth that will rely entirely on the pilot’s skill to balance itself or walk or run. (via Prosthesis human-piloted racing robot aims to usher in a new sport)
In case of emergency.. :-) irony for the future
A world wide web for robots to learn from each other and share information is being shown off for the first time.
Scientists behind RoboEarth will put it through its paces at Eindhoven University in a mocked-up hospital room. Four robots will use the system to complete a series of tasks, including serving drinks to patients. It is the culmination of a four-year project, funded by the European Union. The eventual aim is that both robots and humans will be able to upload information to the cloud-based database, which would act as a kind of common brain for machines. (via BBC News - Robots test their own world wide web, dubbed RoboEarth)
Scientists have built what they say is the first flying machine that hovers in a stable manner by flapping its wings.
Previous designs for so-called flapping wing aircraft have mimicked the wing motions of insects, but the new design is based on the way jellyfish swim. The prototype built by scientists at New York University is able to keep upright and recover from disturbances. The authors say their machine shows the value of researching flying strategies not yet explored by evolution. The work by Leif Ristroph and Stephen Childress from New York University (NYU) is published in the UK Royal Society journal Interface. Most efforts to build stable flapping-wing aircraft - or ornithopters - have based their designs on the way insects fly. But this approach leads to aircraft that are inherently unstable, tending to flip over if left to their own devices. Stabilising these designs requires either active control systems, or the addition of sails and tails that act as aerodynamic dampers. Using jellyfish as one inspiration, the researchers set out to achieve stable hovering using flapping wings alone. They developed a 10cm prototype with four distinct wings that demonstrated an inherent tendency to remain upright during flight. “In the future, small-scale flapping-wing aircraft may be used in applications ranging from surveillance and reconnaissance missions to traffic and air quality monitoring,” the researchers write in Interface journal. (via BBC News - Flying drone inspired by swimming jellyfish)
A Group Of Teenagers With A 3D Printer Just Gave This Little Girl A Life-Changing Christmas Gift
A group of high school students in Michigan gave a 4-year-old girl the gift of a lifetime yesterday. The robotics team from West Catholic High School presented little Harmony Taylor with the right hand she never had, after the teenagers spent six weeks to build the hand from a 3D printing device that was donated to their school. Harmony was born with “limb differences”, which caused the fingers on her right hand to never develop. Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Center in Michigan also played a role in the creation of the hand, Monica Scott of MLive reports, helping the family connect with the school when insurance wouldn’t cover all of Harmony’s needs. (via Little Girl Gets 3D Printed Hand - Business Insider)
The Cubli: a cube that can jump up, balance, and ‘walk’
The Cubli is a 15 × 15 × 15 cm cube that can jump up and balance on its corner. Reaction wheels mounted on three faces of the cube rotate at high angular velocities and then brake suddenly, causing the Cubli to jump up. Once the Cubli has almost reached the corner stand up position, controlled motor torques are applied to make it balance on its corner. In addition to balancing, the motor torques can also be used to achieve a controlled fall such that the Cubli can be commanded to fall in any arbitrary direction. Combining these three abilities — jumping up, balancing, and controlled falling — the Cubli is able to ‘walk’.
Lead Researchers: Gajamohan Mohanarajah and Raffaello D’Andrea