Fleets of battery-powered robots could zip along monorails installed in solar arrays, tweaking individual panels’ angles so they follow the sun across the sky. This could be cheaper than installing actuators on every solar panel so they track the sun, according to a new robotics startup. Robots can make everything easier!
By Vijay Kumar as told to Flora Lichtman
Posted 04.30.2012 at 5:12 pm 3 Comments
If you want a robot to maneuver aggressively, it has to be small. As you scale things down, the “moment of inertia”—the resistance to angular motion—drops dramatically. Our nano-quadrotor robots are made to be as lightweight as possible: less than a fifth of a pound and palm-sized.
Using a learning algorithm, Italian researchers taught a child-like humanoid robot archery, even outfitting it with a spectacular headdress to celebrate its new skill.
Petar Kormushev, Sylvain Calinon and Ryo Saegusa of the Italian Institute of Technology developed an algorithm called “Archer,” for Augmented Reward Chained Regression. The iCub robot is taught how to hold the bow and arrow, but then learns by itself how to aim and shoot the arrow so it hits the center of a target.
The world’s most sophisticated robots don’t assemble trucks or cruise around Mars. They’re designed to support our surging population of elderly and disabled citizens. Meet 10 of the most promising senior-friendly ’bots.
This is not your typical light show. The neon light piping into the brain of a mouse with Parkinson's disease stops the animal's tremors instantly. Neuroscientist and psychiatrist Karl Deisseroth and his colleagues at Stanford University believe the laser light can "turn on" damaged or inactive brain cells.
Gentle Giant: Courtesy Sugano Laboratory/Waseda University
In the movies, entrusting human life to robot helpers and sophisticated machines inevitable ends in fire, destruction and death. But in reality, the automatons are actually saving lives. We featured six Machines that Heal in our July issue, one of which is Twendy-One, a Japanese robot nurse straight out of the comic books built to assists the elderly.
What: An exoskeleton that dramatically speeds up recovery times from stroke Where: Santa Cruz, Calif. Why: An estimated 780,000 Americans will suffer a debilitating stroke this year. Wow: The robot can simulate 95 percent of the motions of a healthy human arm.
What: Fluorescence-Assisted Resection and Exploration, a new technique that makes cancerous tissue glow during surgery, one cell at a time Where: Boston Why: Of the 1.5 million cases of cancer diagnosed annually, nearly all of them require surgery. Wow: Pinpoints the spread of cancer in seconds
Posted 05.19.2007 at 11:07 pm 0 Comments
I just got back from day one at Maker Faire, and to say I'm overwhelmed wouldn't even begin to describe it. Never have I seen more cool toys, ingenious projects, smart robots and, um, crocheted videogame consoles in one place. I spent most of the day walking around in a daze at the incredible variety of stuff on hand in San Mateo—somehow, though, I managed to take some photos.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.