HERE’S THE POOP SCOOP
This could be it, folks. The one killer application that the entire
robotics world has been waiting for. It's bold, it's daring, it's potentially
transformative, and you know you want it: it's POOP.
Ben Cohen and his colleagues from the GRASP Lab at the University
of Pennsylvania devoted literally an entire weekend to programming their
PR2 robot, Graspy, to handle POOPs. POOPs (Potentially Offensive
Objects for Pickup) are managed by the robot using a customized POOP
SCOOP (Perception Of Offensive Products and Sensorized Control Of
Object Pickup) routine. While POOP can be just about anything that
you'd rather not have to pick up yourself, in this particular case, the
POOP does happen to be poop, since arguably, poop is the worst kind of
Graspy begins its task by declaring in a vaguely disappointed robotic
monotone,"time for me to scoop some poop." You get the sense that this
There's still some work to be done in order to get PR2 scooping poop like a pro (or an obedient human). For example,
it's currently only able to handle high fiber poop, although that may be solvable with a different tool. If you think you have a
clever way of making PR2 a better poop scooper, you can download the POOP SCOOP ROS stack and contribute to the
betterment of humanity through robotics.
A virus has hit the military's UAV fleet. Details are sketchy as to its
purpose, but it seems the key logger payload locks in keystrokes that
drone operators perform. They have yet to be able to remove the virus
and are not sure if its arrival was intentional or accidental. While it has
not caused any obvious damage as yet, this certainly proves that nothing
is totally safe in the Interweb world.
Note that security expert Miles Fidelman believes that it is possible
that a rootkit that keys logs may have come from a DOD vendor.
TONGUE IN CHEEK
Tomofumi Hatakeyama and Hiromi Mochiyama have not yet created a robotic chameleon like the one in the photo, but
they have started in on one of the most important parts: the tongue.
Chameleons can shoot their tongues out to capture prey in just three
one-hundredths of a second, and then reel their tongues back in and chow
down. Seems like a handy thing for a robot to be able to do, right?
This system is deceptively simple, relying on an air cannon of sorts to
fire a magnetic projectile attached to a thin elastic cord. Over 90 percent
of the time, the robotic tongue can snap up magnets dropped 0.7 meters
away, taking barely a tenth of a second to traverse the distance and making
the entire round trip in another tenth. It's wicked quick, and can nail
almost exactly the same spot in mid-air every time.
Obviously, there are a few reasons why this particular version is
probably not going to replace a real chameleon any time soon. For one, it only works on magnetic stuff and in order to make
the catch, it needs a break-beam sensor to tell it when to fire. The researchers want this thing to ultimately shoot out to 10
meters (!), and they're planning to mount it on some kind of mobile robot platform that will scuttle around and catch
cockroaches and other bugs.
28 SERVO 12.2011