bots IN BRIEF
KINECT WITH ADAM
Malte Ahlers — a student of neurobiology in Germany — has built
a humanoid robot torso called Adam (Advanced Dual Arm Manipulator),
or A1 for short. Although the project is still somewhat early in
development, the hardware side of things has been in the works for
around two years.
Adam’s arms have five degrees of freedom actuated by robolink
joints from Igus — a German robotics company. The robolink joints have
both pivot and rotation – ideal for building robot arms – but they use
external cables for their rotation (much like a pulley; one for clockwise
and another for counterclockwise rotation). The resulting bundle of
cables had to be routed to planetary gear motors inside the torso, and
Ahlers had to build a motor controller to read out the position
encoders in the joints in order to drive the motors with position
For the hands, he went with FESTO’s flexible FinGrippers which use
a simple, yet surprisingly effective design. FESTO is also a German
company, famous for its biologically-inspired robots and the FinGrippers
are no exception. Using just one motor, three fingers
pinch together in unison and will naturally conform to
roundish objects of varying size. Finally, Adam’s head
(sitting on a two DOF neck) has a Microsoft Kinect
sensor and two Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000 cameras.
A speaker provides for speech synthesis and an LCD
panel features animated “lips.” For now, Adam remains
an impressive work-in-progress.
NOW THEY’RE (NOODLE) COOKIN’
Little by little, robotic chefs are taking over China. One of the latest
is Chef Cui who specializes in noodle cutting. Designed by Cui Runquan, this chefbot is being mass-produced with a reasonable
price tag of $1,500. We call that reasonable since hiring a chef could cost $4,700 yearly. Runquan says that the upcoming human
generation isn’t really into a career as a cook, so with about 3,000 already sold he expects these robotic counterparts will pick
up the slack.
The Chefbots can “hand” slice noodles into a pot of boiling water. According to one human,"The robot chef can slice
noodles better than human chefs."
26 SERVO 10.2012