The simple bloblike shape of “Keepon” belies its subtle complexity. Inside the dancing blob are 4 motors that control its side-to-side and forward and back head bobbing, the rotation, and the up and down motion as Keepon interacts with people. Using cameras located in the eyes, Keepon is able to recognize faces and actively interact with people using dancing or other supportive gestures to display simple emotions. By looking at an object, Keepon can also direct attention to something bright or colorful.
This little robot is a large advancement in social robotics and is being used to help developmentally challenged kids learn to interact with their environment. I couldn’t help but wonder… is Keepon a boy or a girl? I struggled and eventually had to use “Keepon” to describe the lovable robot instead of he/she/it for lack of a better word.
The high speed robotic hand from Japan has some new moves. This time, its trying to impress us by juggling! The high-speed hand and arm has an even higher speed vision system that allows the robot’s controller to plan for catches and throws (up to nearly 2 meters in height) at a breathtaking 500 frames per second. The arm and hand are adapting for every single catch and throw based on data from two high-speed cameras that track the balls.
This video fascinated the world when it was first released. The robot is comprised of a balloon filled with coffee grinds. Simple… and the revolutionary concept of “jamming” the particles together by drawing a partial vacuum has allowed this hand to grasp a wide variety of objects that even humans have a hard time holding on to. The robot can even pick up a raw egg! This demonstration, though over a year old, still doesn’t fail to impress. The team has been busy with improvements, and there are many more videos showing cool things that this gripper can do.
This tiny little bug weighs in at an impressive 16 grams. The lightweight, simple construction is achieved through ”Smart Composite Microstructures” (SCM). The SCM process follows a few simple steps that essentially create a sandwich with rigid composites on the outside with flexible polymer inside. By controlling the location of the flexible polymer, the resulting structure can be folded into 3D forms and actuated.
Dash weighs in at 16 grams, can run at 15 body lengths per second (1.5 meters/sec.), and has survive falls from 7.5 meters, 12 meters, and 28 meters! The video shows some of the amazing things that Dash can do
Stanford University has developed a plane that can land on and take off of walls vertically!
Latching on with miniature hooks on “claws,” the unmanned vehicle can approach a vertical surface at about 22 mph, and drastically slows as it nears the wall. Its claws are controlled to extend and release when prompted, and it can efficiently work its magic, requiring very little power while it is attached. It’s also unique because there can be on-board cameras and other sensors, making it perfect for surveillance.
Robotic hand technology in the last decade has largely focused on making the machines simpler and lighter. This setup, while neither lightweight nor simple, displays an extraordinary precision and speed. These fingers are able to dribble a ball 10 times per second, using multiple high speed cameras to track the motion of the ball. The hand is amazingly able to toss a cell phone into the air and catch it between two fingers on the way down. This “regrasping” is must more advanced than other systems which simply rotate the object while maintaining contact with it.
Straight out of the 1958 science-fiction movie, “The Blob,” the Chembot is an amorphous blob that will hopefully be helping soldiers on the battlefield!
Made by DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) of the Pentagon, the Chembot is able to change between a semi-liquid and solid state with the inflation or deflation with air. By inflating in different parts of the blob differently, the blob can slowly roll its way across the ground. Scientists are hopeful that the little blob will be able to go through small areas that troops can’t. Squishes through tight spaces and reorganize on the other side; it’s truly fiction come to life.