bots IN BRIEF
VACUUM BITES SNAKE
An article from Israel’s Yediot Acharonot newspaper, titled “A Vacuum
Cleaner Captured a Snake” features a Roomba 560 that appears to have
totally obliterated what we’re told was a deadly viper threatening some kids
(and possibly a cat) by sucking it up around one of its rotating brushes.
There are more graphic pics of the end result over on Facebook, but
suffice it to say that the poor little snakey came to a rather violent —
and probably really confusing — end. It’s good to know that our robot
vacuums have our backs when it comes to poisonous reptiles shaped like
DROP AND GIVE ME 20 ...
Bandit here is a sort of friendly, sort of scary robot designed to help you
exercise. (That’s what you want in a personal trainer, right?)
Bandit is helping the University of Southern California Center for
Robotics and Embedded Systems conduct a study on exercise training.
Seventy volunteers of all ages (including 20 people aged 60 or older living in
retirement homes) will have either Bandit himself or Bandit on video as a
trainer. The researchers will try to figure out if the physical presence of the
robot makes a difference.
FLOATING ON AIR
Remember that Mindflex game from CES last year that used a
little ball hovering on a jet of air? Well, if you use a more powerful
jet of air and a fancy multi-axis robotic nozzle, you can manipulate
objects in three dimensions through obstacle courses, toss things,
hold up multiple objects, weigh objects, and even peel onions. It
does it all!
The fluid dynamics involved in these manipulations — especially
when you throw more than one object and non-spherical objects
into the mix — are pretty crazy. Stereo cameras track the object in
the airstream and a computer model directs the nozzle to vary the
speed and direction of the jet to keep things stable.
The designers of the system — Aaron Becker and Robert Sandheinrich from the University of Illinois —
say this technology could be used to handle flexible and delicate objects in a non-contact setting.
20 SERVO 01.2010