bots IN BRIEF
12 SERVO 08.2015
FOLDS UNDER PRESSURE
At the recent International Conference on Robotics and Automation, MIT researchers presented a printable Origami robot that folds itself up from a flat sheet of plastic when
heated, and measures about a centimeter from front to back.
Weighing only a third of a gram, the robot can swim, climb an incline, traverse rough
terrain, and carry a load twice its weight. Other than the self-folding plastic sheet, the robot’s
only component is a permanent magnet affixed to its back. Its motions are controlled by
external magnetic fields.
Once the robot has folded itself up, the proper application of a magnetic field to the
permanent magnet on its back causes its body to flex. The friction between the robot’s front
feet and the ground is great enough that the front feet stay fixed while the back feet lift. Then,
another sequence of magnetic fields causes the robot’s body to twist slightly, which breaks the
front feet’s adhesion, and the robot moves forward.
MIT's untethered miniature Origami robot could have a variety of medical uses when
introduced inside of a human body, potentially zapping cancer cells or unclogging arteries.
DRONE TO THE RESCUE
Recent powerful storms dumped heavy rain on parts of North Texas, causing power outages and flash flooding
throughout the area.
Johnson County alone reported 13 water rescues, and one
of those came via drone.
The Kastel family lives in a mobile home that was
completely surrounded by water. The fast-moving water made
it impossible for firefighters to reach the family, according to
Fox 4 News.
That’s when Johnson County emergency personnel
decided to use a DJI drone to get a rescue line to the Kastels.
Garrett Bryl has volunteered his drone called “Valkyrie” for
months to help in emergency situations.
Johnson County Emergency Management Director, Jamie
Moore said, “They attached a small lead line; in other words, a
very small rope to the bottom of the drone so that rescuers
had a rope between them and the house to be able to pull
Drones are being used more and more to aid in disaster
relief. Nepal — which suffered its worst earthquake in 80 years
on April 25, 2015 — used drones for aerial photography and to
map areas affected by the earthquake. That information is
passed on to aid crews and rescue workers on the ground.
Emergency personnel in Johnson County, TX
attempt to rescue a family from a flooded
home. (Photo courtesy of Gary Ultee/WFAA.)