The concept of prosthetic limbs is not new; they’ve been around for a while, to replace limbs that no longer exist. Never before, however, have they been custom-made.
Prosthetic limbs have always been made in terms of how medically acceptable they are, which makes sense, since they do have a lot to do with the user’s health. But because of this, prosthetic legs have become less visually appealing. Bespoke Innovations, however, brings prosthetic legs to an industrial level, by making them both effective and visually appealing. The prosthetic legs are compared to their present counterparts, or, in the case where a person lacks both legs, to someone with similar physique. This brings the existence of prosthetic legs to an entirely new level, with comfort, application and fashion all together..
This doesn’t really need much premise. A group of students at Zhejiang University in China created two robots, Wu and Kong, that can play table tennis with relative fluidity and reflex.
Wu and Kong are equipped with eye-mounted cameras that send 120 images per second to the robot’s processor, which calculates ball trajectory and landing position almost instantly. Then, this information is sent to the robot’s hydraulic joints, which respond to send the ball back.
The robots still have a long way to go. They aren’t fast enough, and can’t move from side to side, so they probably won’t be winning any table tennis tournaments in the near future. However, the original intent has been achieved: the robot is an effective training aid, because it is able to return the ball consistently to the same place.
We see a lot of biped walking robots, but scientists at the University of Arizona have taken a lot of effort to make one with a human-like step. Instead of out brain doing all the work to control walking, we use a small part of our bodies located on our lower back called the central pattern generator (CPG) to augment our minds. By creating a basic digital version of that and connecting some feedback sensors in the legs, a more natural human stride was created. Though the robot can not yet balance on its own and has to function with a balancing aid, it is interesting to see how the robot can provide insight about the human gait.
The concept of high-speed trains has become widely popular in the world, with the concept that the less friction there is, the higher speeds can be reached. Asia has already implemented these on a wide scale, but even these high-speed trains mostly run on rails, which give quite a bit of friction. The other type of low-friction vehicle is the maglev train, which relies on magnetic attraction and repulsion to hold a train above an electrical field using magnets, but even maglev trains have some amount of air drag, and they cost a colossal amount.
So, how else do you make a levitating vehicle? Well, the most obvious solution is air, since it’s between the ground and whatever object you have above it. In theory, this makes sense, but in practice, it’s quite a bit harder to do. First, to push enough air towards the ground at the right balance has to be carefully calculated. Also, one of the bigger difficulties that has arisen is that the ground-effect robot is controlled more like a plane than a train; in addition to the regular forward motion, the pitch, roll, and yaw must also be considered in its functionality.
Still, this technology is progressing fairly quickly, and hopefully the world will be seeing efficient ground-effect robot trains on the non-existent rails soon!
Technology in the film industry keeps improving all the time, as most of us have seen in many recent films and animations. It’s been used to superimpose images, duplicate faces, create monsters, and even to animate more realistic hair. So, let’s take a look at a few interesting uses for technology on the set!
Scientists are pulling yet another fictional robotic character into real life… it’s a cyborg.
Well, not really. The Robo-Moth is actually a moth’s brain attached to a robotic vehicle. It’s something that robotic engineers have been striving at for ages; although insect brains are miniature compared to ours, their senses are much more finely tuned. The Robo-Moth is tested by stimulating its still-functional antennae, with stimulate neurons in the brain and trigger parts of the vehicle to respond to it.
Read about it here: http://www.engadget.com/2009/07/14/researchers-create-robo-moth-dream-of-a-cyborg-cricket-filled-f/
While biorobotics has mostly been used to exploit the innate skills of living animals, in this case example, biorobots can also be used to model ecological situations, such as predator-prey relationships.
RoboSquirrel isn’t a complex robot. It mostly consists of two skills, first, moving from one end of a wooden box to the other, and second, to wag its tail. At first, it seems extremely useless; I mean, what does it even actually do? But after it is used on an actual rattlesnake, it become very clear what its function is.
From the video, we can clearly see that the rattlesnake does not strike when the squirrels tail moves, yet it does strike when the squirrels tail does not. Concepts such as these, which used to only be made through careful observation, can now rely on robots to model them effectively. And we find that the biorobot is actually effective when we take a look at an actual squirrels behavior.
It’s about three minutes long, and the first and last thirty seconds should give you what you want to know.
In this video, we see that for three minutes, a rattlesnake approaches a squirrel, but does not even think to strike, as the squirrel’s tail wags the entire time. While before the creation of the RoboSquirrel, this idea could only be theorized, the RoboSquirrel proves that it is innate and constant in its effect.