Robotics

Dropping Science: Rise of the Nano-Copters!

 

Remote controlled Quadrocopters (aircraft powered by 4 rotors) have been cropping up around the world for a while now. The combination of stability and manoeuvrability  makes them perfect aerial toys but at heart they are essentially robots and wherever there are robots, there are robotics scientists.

A team from KMel Robotics, in conjunction with the University of Pennsylvania have developed a swarm of nano-quadrocopters which can accept some scarily advanced programming. In this video the team demonstrate how the little bots can fly in formation and even alter their flight patterns to navigate around objects, contracting and expanding like some kind of creepy, flying mecha-water.

It’s a brilliant bit of robotics and an excellent demonstration. I just hope that somebody has John Connor’s number to hand.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQIMGV5vtd4&w=853&h=480]

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Karakuri: The first Japanese Clockwork Robots

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/24412432 w=400&h=225]

Karakuri from Matthew Allard on Vimeo.

The Japanese have had more than a passing interest in robotics for generations. Well before the term robotics was coined the fine art of engineering Karakuri was developed. The patient and refined art of creating small clockwork models move in an almost unimaginably natural and refined way. Check this out to see a lady robot right a tiny Japanese symbol and then nod suggestively at you. Beautiful and a testament to fine artists and engineers and designers who slave everywhere to bring pieces of rare and unimaginable beauty.

Dropping Science: Jedi-Bot

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuSCErmoYpY&w=640&h=390]

Forever the breeding ground for wonderful yet pointless tech experiments, university science departments have, since time immemorial created stuff that nobody can fathom but everyone secretly wants (well science departments and Apple). In this case, students from Stamford University have created a robot “Jedi” capable of sword fighting with a live human being. We’ve seen robots lightsaber fight with each other already of course, but apparently that’s too easy as the robots already know what each other is going to do (I suspect “easy” is something of a relative term). With this particular battle droid, the bot is actually capable of sensing the movements of its human opponent and altering its strategy to compensate. It performs this wondrous feat with the aid of…you guessed it…an X-Box Kinnect. Microsoft it seems, while failing to create a truly earth shattering gaming experience, are succeeding quite nicely in bringing about the birth of Skynet.

The force is strong with this bot.

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