bots IN BRIEF
SAMARAI COPPER BOT
This is SAMARAI, a UAV that Lockheed Martin has been
working on based on a monocopter platform. A monocopter
is like a helicopter, except that the entire vehicle consists of
a single rotating airfoil, making them somewhat impractical
for manned flight. And, from the looks of things, more than
a little dangerous — although the project was named
SAMARAI after samara, which are those monocopter seed
pod things that fly down off of trees (not after its efficiency
The SAMARAI project was supposed to produce a
nanomonocopter about the same size as a seed pod (on the
order of 1.5 inches long and 10 grams in weight), driven by a
miniature rocket or jet thruster, able to send back streaming
video (that was stabilized somehow), autonavigate, and
deliver a two gram payload up to a kilometer away.
It’s not exactly clear what’s going on with this particular
project.According to Danger Room, the SAMARAI project
was canceled last year after completing Phase 1 of a DARPA
nano air vehicle contract. Phase 2 of the contract, has gone
to AeroVironment for this.
IT ONLY TAKES A SPARK...
SPARK stands for Starter Programs for Advanced
Robotics Knowledge, and it’s iRobot’s new program
to help improve robotics education for students in
elementary school through college. While not too
much seems to be happening at the moment, SPARK
does have a lot of promising partners, including FIRST,
CMU, BeatBots, Topobo, and even Paro.
All too often, programs like this don’t get past the
concept+slick website phase which is where SPARK
appears to be. Hopefully with the backing of iRobot
and its partners, something substantial will become of
As if hobby robots don’t already have enough
expensive bits, Craft House in Japan has just released a
new $600 add-on for humanoids: these delicately beautiful
five fingered hands.
Called “Melissa” hands, they are each controlled by a
single servo and can easily grasp small objects. They’re not
really cut out for fighting, and “it is necessary to attach a
protector such as a glove.” Robot boxing, anyone?
Cool tidbits and interesting info herein mainly provided by Evan Ackerman at www.botjunkie.com, but also www.robotsnob.com
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