Showing posts with label robotics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label robotics. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Robot update

The Atlas robot, being developed by Boston Dynamics, measures 1m88, weighs 150 kilos and can use its stereoscopic vision to move around on rough and uneven surfaces. It can withstand shocks from a pendulum weighing 20 kilos, and balance on one leg.

Although US military funding is being used to develop the Atlas robot, we are assured that the machine will not be put into service as an infantry unit. That sounds reasonable, in that the machine would be highly vulnerable to the simplest gun/grenade attack. On the other hand, a robot such as this would be an extraordinary device in the context, say, of a catastrophe such as that of Fukushima.

Here's the four-legged Wildcat robot, also being developed by Boston Dynamics, which is a descendant of the Cheetah sprinter that I presented in an earlier blog post [display].

It's a pity that its "head" appears to be where its "buttocks" should be located, and vice versa. What impresses me most of all is Wildcat's ability to either bound or gallop. In any case, I'm convinced that Wildcat would be a fabulous friend for my dog Fitzroy, on the slopes of Gamone.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Guess what happened to this guy

He got into a fight with a dog. Did the dog bite him? No, this guy's an electronics engineer who works in advanced computer technology. And it so happened that a big dog threw a brick at him.

When the first brick hit him in the chest, he raced forward desperately with the intention of cutting off power to the big dog. But the beast promptly threw another brick that hit him in the head. And then another brick that hit him in the solar plexus. Finally, the beast ran out of bricks, and it ended up throwing a computer at the poor guy. At that stage, lab workers were able to get up close enough to turn the dog off.

Here's a spectacular presentation of the animal's evolution:

If ever the big dog were to step up to me, looking like it wanted to lift up a leg and piss on me, I think it would be best to say: "You're welcome, my friend." No sense in doing anything that might peeve the beast.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Big robotic hounds

In my blog post of 8 September 2012 entitled Robotic runner [display], we saw a legged robot named Cheetah breaking a speed record on a laboratory treadmill.

The same DARPA organization [Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency] proposes the following spectacular video which presents field testing of their Legged Squad Support System (LS3).

I'm frankly terrified by the idea of such big robotic hounds roaming around out in the wilds. We must realize that DARPA isn't designing these metallic creatures as toys. This is pure military research. They say that the big beasts might be used as pack animals, to carry stuff that would normally be borne by human soldiers. But a robot that can transport military gear can also carry a machine gun. They could be trained to operate in a hunt-and-kill style, while being commanded at close range by vocal orders.

We've had glimpses recently of the terrifying efficiency of unmanned drones. Just imagine what a military confrontation might look like if the attacker were to deploy a mixture of airborne drones and legged ground robots. I have the impression that we're hurtling into a crazy science-fiction universe, in which battles will be fought by 5-star game-playing generals located far from the killing grounds, maybe in luxurious bunkers.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Robotic runner

Vehicles that run on wheels have played an essential role in human civilization ever since... the invention of the wheel.

And they're likely to continue to roll on for a long time into the future, at least up until somebody puts together an impeccable automobile that darts around on an air cushion.

Or maybe there'll be some kind of marvelous "personal mover" (unimagined today, like the personal computer a century ago) that will take us magically and rapidly—along with our kids and dog and shopping basket—from one place to another.

Vehicles that run on tracks can be useful in places where wheels wouldn't work well.

But, for getting over obstacles, nothing beats legs! So, engineers at DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) and Boston Dynamics have been working enthusiastically on a speedy legged robot named Cheetah.

Recently, performing on its treadmill, Cheetah set a record of over 45 km/hour, which is slightly faster than Usain Bolt.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Robot bird

Many people have considered, for a long time (at least since the invention of the wheel, say), that engineers should not go out of their way to imitate Nature, since the hit-and-miss processes of evolution do not necessarily result in exemplary designs. The following amusing demonstration proves, however, that engineers can in fact—if they set their minds to it—create an impressive bionic artifact.