bots IN BRIEF
The reason that this is called Handbot is that it’s designed to be the
manipulation portion of a robot made up of individual specialized sub-robots,
including Eyebots for sensing and Footbots for ground movement. The whole
shebang forms “an heterogeneous robotic system” called Swarmanoid, and
eventually, one Swarmanoid assemblage will be comprised of some 60
individual Handbots, Eyebots, and Footbots capable of cooperatively moving
around, sensing, and manipulating in 3D space.
Even though it’s been some 4,500 years, there’s still a little bit of the Great
Pyramid that’s entirely unexplored. From two chambers inside the pyramid (the King’s
Chamber and Queen’s Chamber), there are small shafts (about the size of a
breadbox) leading away towards the exterior. These passages are blocked by stone
doors with copper handles built into them, and a previous expedition found that
behind was of the doors was … another door. So this time, a team sponsored by
Leeds University and supported by Dassault Systems has built a robot designed to
find out what’s behind that next door. It’s totally tricked out, with:
· A micro “snake camera” that can fit through small spaces and see around
corners like an endoscope.
· A miniaturized ultrasonic device that can tap on walls and listen to the response to help determine the thickness and
condition of the stone.
· A miniature ‘beetle’ robot that can fit through a 20 mm diameter hole for further exploration in confined spaces.
· Precision compass and inclinometer to measure the orientation of the shafts.
· A coring drill that can penetrate the second blocking stone (if necessary and feasible) while removing the minimum
amount of material necessary.
This is actually the third robot that’s been sent down this particular shaft; the second was an iRobot project in
cooperation with National Geographic.
In 1992, a robot was sent into one of the Great Pyramid of Khufu's shafts to explore its contents. Upnaut 2 found the
limestone doors with brass handles. National Geographic sent in a drilling bot
sometime later and discovered the second door. Now Leeds University's Dr. Robert
Richardson has planned this third excursion that will probably take about five years to
complete. The hope is the drillbot — equipped with a camera — will discover lost
secrets in the Queen's chamber.
The Djedi Team, from left to right: Stephen Rhodes, Robert Richardson, Zahi Hawass,
Shaun Whitehead, Adrian Hildred, David Keeling, Ron Grieve, Jeff Vale, TC Ng.
(Photo by Meghan Strong.)
20 SERVO 10.2010