bots IN BRIEF
WIRELESS DATA NETWORK (COURTESY OF YOUR LOCAL CRICKETS)
Next time you hear crickets chirping, listen a little closer. They must be sending email. DARPA is already working on cyborg insects, but now the military wants
them to be able to form their own ad-hoc wireless networks, using chirps.
Insects will be equipped with embedded MEMS transceivers that pick up
modulated calling sounds from nearby insects. Once the information in a call
is extracted by the transceiver, the information code is applied to an
electromechanical device on board the insect that modulates the insect calls,
thereby retransmitting the information to another insect, and so on.
Probably not a super high amount of bandwidth, or speed, but as a covert
communication network, it could be a fairly cheap and robust system. Especially if
the transceivers are able to use electromagnetic harvesters to power themselves
from the muscle movements of the insect.
OH, WHAT TANGLED WEBS ARE WEAVED
If the crickets didn’t bug you, check this out. It’s a wall-mounted robot with an arm, a camera, and a bioreactor. See all those little pegs? They’re
designed to encourage spiders to build their webs there. When a fly gets
stuck in the web, a camera (the thing on the right) records what happens
so you can watch the gory details later. After the fly hasn’t moved for
10 minutes, a robot arm (on the left) plucks the fly out of the web and
deposits it into a microbial fuel cell, where it provides power for the robot.
Yep, the robot eats flies.
And the poor spider just cries “help me,” I guess.
This bizarre pest control prototype is brought to you by
Auger-Loizeau. See more of their pest-powered furniture over on
DEKA “LUKE” SAYS
“SHOW ME THE MONEY”
Dean Kamen’s brain controlled cyborg arm, which first came out over a year ago, has received an additional three years
of research funding. This time, it’s not from DARPA, but from the
VA’s Prosthetics and Sensory Aids Service.
The 18 DOF robotic arm includes actuated fingers and can be
controlled via a foot-operated joystick, shoulder-operated joystick,
or myoelectric switches operated by brain impulses. The DEKA in
the name comes from "DEan KAmen" and the "Luke" designation
is a Star Wars reference.
30 SERVO 08.2009