NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) has been working on a way to grasp onto asteroids to hold on while drilling into them. Ideally, you want some system that can reliably anchor a robot to an uneven surface while simultaneously providing enough downforce in microgravity to allow for sample collection, and this is where the microspines come in.
JPL’s microspine anchors are capable of quickly attaching and detaching from a variety of surface types using an actuator with just one degree of freedom. The anchor provides enough force (on surfaces ranging from vertical to inverted) for a percussion drill operating though the anchor to take core samples, and it’s robust enough to survive over a hundred anchoring sequences with a structure that’s designed to be space-durable
Microsoft’s Research department seems to do a lot of work related to depth cameras, which has resulted in some pretty incredible stuff, including this “Wearible Multitouch Projector.”
Have you ever seen a SmartBoard? It’s a bit like one one of those, but portable, and compatible with every surface you can possibly imagine, not just a whiteboard( that doesn’t even function as a whiteboard ) fixed to a wall. Whether it’s your hand, the wall, or a notepad, Microsoft’s creation can project an interactive touchscreen onto it.
The current design may look a little clumsy and awkward, but with a bit of work, this technology could redefine portable electronics!
A few days ago, we featured a concept for a “smart home” from microsoft. This man has developed a robot for the smart house concept that allows people to film themselves with a camera that tracks their movements and follows them around. Though the robot in the video may seem bulky and complex, the technology needed to do this already exists. In fact, I am sitting at my desk right now with a Logitech webcam that follows and tracks my movements when I am on a video call. Sometimes the technology of the future is literally right there looking at us in the face!
Joseph Schlesinger has been working on bringing affordable robotics kits to people everywhere. His highly successful kickstarter for the project quickly gained popularity and catapulted Hexy, the small, cute hexapod robot into the spotlight. Though the robot has little practical application, at $200 it is a great introduction to robotics for kids and hobbyists
In an effort to better understand and model the kinds of movements and forces exerted by olympic swimmers have developed a half scale humanoid robot. The 3D printed bot mimics the arm and leg strokes of a swimmer. The robot can’t swim anywhere near as quickly as a human can. Yet… Humanoid robots are in many ways overly complex and ill suited for a lot of tasks, including swimming. The biggest advantage though is the possibility of one day having humans and robots work side by side in a human environment.
Imagine your own future home, what does it look like?
Buildings that made up our homes had evolved. Today pipes and wires are all hidden behind the wall that we don’t notice using them. Tomorrow we will see the computer system are hidden, while amazing functions are right in front of your eye.
This interesting little robot is trying to overcome one of the biggest challenges of bipedal robots, keeping the system stable. The team at the University of Notre Dame is expoloring this challenge by using their robot KURMET for investigating non-steady-state dynamic maneuvers such as jumping. Legged robots offer advantages in terms of mobility over uneven terrain and, particularly in the case of bipeds, mobility in human-centered environments. (This robot isn’t supported by the rod off to the side)
The “fuzzy” control of the robot refers to the training process researchers use to control the robot. There aren’t a set of pre defined actions, instead, KURMET is acting based on a set of inputs that it can replicate. Maybe these evolutionary learning strategies can be used more widely in the future to simplify programming for robotics.