by Jeff Eckert
Are you an avid Internet surfer
who came across something
cool that we all need to see? Are
you on an interesting R&D group
and want to share what you’re
developing? Then send me an
email! To submit related press
releases and news items, please
— Jeff Eckert
Boeing’s ULB Demonstrator on its
first unmanned spin around the block.
Photo courtesy of Boeing.
Late last year, Boeing Co.
( www.boeing.com) flew what is
dubbed the A/MH-6X light-turbine
helicopter for the first time. Under
development since 2004, it is actually
a hybrid manned/unmanned aircraft
that combines the abilities of the
existing A/MH-6M Mission Enhanced
Little Bird (MELB) with the unmanned
aerial vehicle technologies of
the Unmanned Little Bird (ULB)
Demonstrator shown above. The
latter is a modified MD 530F civil
helicopter that is readily available
from MD Helicopters, Inc. (www.
So far, the Demonstrator has
logged about 500 flight hours. In the
latest test, the A/MH-6X was flown for
14 minutes as a piloted aircraft, but
future testing will involve both
manned and unmanned operations.
Aircraft performance will be similar to
that of the Demonstrator, but with an
additional 1,000 lbs (increased to
3,400+ lbs) of payload that can be
used for increased range, endurance,
or mission hardware. Interestingly,
Boeing says that the unmanned
hardware and paraphernalia developed for this program can be adapted
to any helicopter.
Give ‘em the Chair
The robotic chair in different stages
of collapse and reassembly.
Photos by Raffaello D’Andrea,
courtesy of Cornell University.
Like many things we encounter
in life, the Robotic Chair, a creation
of Cornell’s ( www.cornell.edu)
Prof. Raffaello D’Andrea and artist
Max Dean, admittedly has no utilitarian value. And, like many people we
encounter in life, its “brain” is located in its seat. But not everything
needs to have a mundane purpose,
and the chair — designed as art for
art’s sake — has only one function: to
fall apart and reassemble itself
The chair’s operation involves
14 motors, two gearboxes, and
various other mechanical parts, and
a computer uses special algorithms
to tell the chair how to find missing
components and rebuild itself.
Waxing philosophical, Dean noted
that its operation is “somewhat like
what we do in our own lives. We
fall apart and put ourselves back
Maybe it has no utilitarian value,
but it could have significant
entertainment value if you place a
couple of them at the dinner table
and invite the in-laws over. In any
event, the chair will be exhibited in art
shows and museums around the
world and eventually sold to a gallery
Bot Cleans Up After You
A plate-grabbing robot, graduate
students Ashutosh Saxena and
Morgan Quigley, and Assistant
Professor Andrew Ng (L to R) — all
part of the STAIR project. Photo
courtesy of Stanford University.
On a much more down-to-earth
level is the latest creation of Prof.
Andrew Ng’s Stanford Artificial
Intelligence Robot (STAIR) project.
The dream here is to, within a
decade, put a robot in every home
and office to take care of routine
8 SERVO 01.2007