Something In Your Eye?
Lest we close out this month's offerings without providing something to
raise goose bumps on the squeamish, consider a microbot developed at the
Swiss-based Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Systems (IRIS,
www.iris.ethz.ch). It's the latest in an effort to create tiny machines that can
be injected into your eyeball and used to treat such conditions as macular
degeneration. The electromagnetically controlled devices can move to a target
location and remain there for months, releasing drugs. The bots can also install
a biodegradable drug capsule and then be removed with a magnetic needle. If
you haven't squirmed enough, visit http://bcove.me/bb27w039 for a video of
the bot creeping around inside the eye of a dead pig.
Microbot sitting on a vein in a chicken
embryo, used as a model for retinal veins.
Reconfigurable Bot Goes Commercial
With funding from the National Science Foundation, a reconfigurable
modular robot invented at the University of California, Davis ( www.ucdavis.edu)
is headed for commercial development. The iMobot, developed by Graham
Ryland and Harry Cheng, is particularly useful as a teaching tool, and they say
there are currently no commercially available research-grade robots. It also has
potential applications for prototyping complex assemblies, and they speculate
that it could eventually be
configured for search-and-rescue
Each module has four degrees
of freedom, with two joints in the
center and a wheel on each end. It
can roll on its wheels, crawl like an
inchworm, or raise one end of its
body and pan around (as, e.g., a
camera platform). Individual
modules can be combined into
larger assemblies such as snakelike
robots or larger, wheeled machines
that can roll over smooth terrain.
By using an off-the-shelf bot
like iMobot, it is believed that
researchers can work in such areas
as AI, robot collaboration, and
reconfigurable and adaptive
systems without having to develop
proprietary hardware systems.
The new company, Barobo Inc.
( www.barobo.com), received an
initial grant of $150,000 for a six
month period, with an additional
$500,000 potentially available. The
bot should be on the market by the
end of the year. For a vid, go to
You Tube and search iMobot. SV
iMobot rolls, crawls, and creeps.
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