Humanoid robots and gadget-y autonomous machines can perform lots of tasks pretty admirably. But when you have a specific need, you need a specifically-equipped robot — which can mean making modifications to existing robot archetypes, or building a specialized ‘bot designed for a sole purpose. Welcome to the age of zoobotics, in which robots are inspired not by people, or restrained by technology like in the early days of robotics. Instead, zoobotics is animal-inspired.
Meet iMobot, a new reconfigurable robot that can be linked together like a chain to form larger versions of itself. With four degrees of freedom, it can stand itself up and turn into a tiny camera stand, roll end-over-end like a mini tank tread, or hunch along like an inchworm.
Israeli roboticist Amir Shapiro looks to the animal kingdom to design robots that can go where humans can't
By John Pavlus
Posted 06.11.2009 at 7:10 am 7 Comments
The Israel Defense Forces are preparing to deploy a camouflage-wearing, camera-toting robot snake. The spybot, which slithers through cracks and caves using principles of motion derived from those of actual snakes, is just one of roboticist Amir Shapiro's clever designs based on animal physiology. We visited Dr. Shapiro's lab at Ben Gurion University of the Negev to get a closer look.
Earthquakes, tsunamis, cyclones -- disasters like these make the natural environment both unnavigable and dangerous for human search-and-rescue teams. That's when it's time for robots to come to our rescue.
Earthquakes are a recurring problem in Japan, an archipelago that rests on four tectonic plates. Japan also happens to be a hotbed of robotics research, so the two have come together in surprising ways.
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.