bots IN BRIEF
‘PLANE’ AND SIMPLE UAV
Apparently, there’s a big potential market for small, simple, and cheap
man-portable UAVs that individual soldiers can rely on for on-demand
reconnaissance. The Point and Toss UAV is a little robotic plane which —
while certainly small (at a pound and a half with a three foot wingspan) and
cheap — may very well be able to claim unambiguous victory in this category.
The operation of the Point and Toss is literally that simple: You point it in
the direction you want it to go, click a hand controller to lock the heading and
start the engine, and then toss. The UAV automatically stabilizes itself, flies out
for about half a mile at 250 feet taking pictures and video to an SD card, and
then autonomously turns around and lands at your feet.
The UAV doesn’t have a loiter capability, so if you’re in an evolving
environment, you’re going to have to keep chucking the thing out to keep
up-to-date on what’s going on. You’re also restricted to one direction at a time.
Guess the point is that the Point and Toss is easy enough for anyone to
operate with practically no training, cheap enough for everyone to have access
to one, and small enough to make that not unrealistic.
You can find out stuff at www.pointandtoss.com.
GIVE US A HAND
What makes the robotic hand
(from the Neurobotics Lab at the
University of Washington) special
is that it’s designed to be an
exact replica of a human hand.
The shape of the bones, the
attachment points of the tendons,
even the musculotendon passive viscoelasticity (whatever that means) are
functionally identical. The hand is a testbed for investigating the potential for
complex neural control. If your brain sends a signal to a robot hand, the hand
better be able to interpret the signal and move the way you’re expecting it to.
More at http://neurobotics.cs.washington.edu/projects.
Cool tidbits and interesting info herein mainly provided by Evan Ackerman at www.botjunkie.com, but also www.robotsnob.com
SERVO 10.2009 23