Because the US Government Accountability Office says that most nuclear plants may have experienced leakage from buried pipelines, MIT researchers are working on tiny spherical bots to explore and send back images. d'Arbeloff Lab team leader Harry Asada claims that the billiard ball-sized robot will have a slippery exterior so it will not get trapped or break apart during its journey.
Anirban Mazumda is working on the propulsion system that will fill with water, then spit it out to move forward. The group recently displayed its prototype at the 2011 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation.
Now that the Shuttle has been retired, new plans for NASA include trips to Mars with Curiosity in November and beyond. During a Cape Canaveral announcement tomorrow, NASA will chat up its Jupiter mission. The unmanned Juno will be launched soon and should hit the planet by July 2016. It will gather data regarding Jupiter's origin and evolution.
PR2s continue to make news and the latest is the one in Georgia Tech's Robots for Humanity program. They have adapted him to allow quadriplegic Henry Evans the ability to shave himself and scratch an itch. Henry gives him commands to move or fetch, including the manipulation of objects from a separate room.
GT is hoping that eventually they can design better hard and software for the next gen of caregiver bots. And while most of use robots because we don't want to vacuum, this PR2 reminds us that they can make a real difference in a human's life.
The teaming of the University of Tokyo's Rekimoto Lab and Sony Computer Science Laboratories has produced the appropriately named PossessedHand. After connection, 28 electrodes produce joint actions on your digits without your participation. First created to teach would-be musicians fingering technique, its creators are hoping that it will aid stroke victims. Although the jolts given are supposedly not painful, still we bet that they had to pay the first testees to participate.
At a speech made at Carnegie Mellon last week, Prez Obama applauded their efforts in advanced research and pledged for government assistance with AMP, an advanced manufacturing program between R&D and businesses. During his speech he commented, "One of my responsibilities as commander-in-chief is to keep an eye on robots. I'm pleased to report that the robots you manufacture here are peaceful, at least for now."
During his visit, he was shown some mini-bots that were used to explore pipes, and those that can mow lawns, scrape paint and defuse bombs. Seems almost an oxymoron to create robots who will eventually replace workers unless you consider that most will be doing those nasty jobs that are hazardous to humans. Hit the link to view his entire speech.
With partial support from a Leverhulme Trust, artist Patrick Tresset shows this robotic arm how to sketch. After "studying" the human, the artbot performs some of his own artwork. Working with Professor Frederic Fol Leymarie, the AIKON-II project (named Paul) will be working towards teaching it how to create its own style. While that idea seems a bit far-fetched, you just never know. We hope that style doesn't include sketching hordes of evil robot takeovers.
Tomotaka Takahashi of Robo-Garage is helping to design a 30 - 40cm humanoid to be unveiled February 2012 and sent into space in 2014. To get things started, the Kibo (which means hope in Japanese) Robot Project has its own website where ordinary humans can submit audio recordings and Tweets with ideas for what he should be named and what he should say once he has been sent to the ISS.
We told you some time ago about the Djedi robots that were sent to the Great Pyramid of Cheops at Giza. After reaching a secret polished door, the Egyptologists sensed that it was not openable and that there were hieroglyphics on it. They are now studying those and plan for future attempts to search the inside with the mini-bots.
Humberto Campins, the University of Central Florida professor who discovered ice on asteroids last year, is now working on a new NASA project. The $8 million OSIRIS-REx is unmanned and will be launched in 2016 to map and take pieces of asteroid 1999 RQ36 with its robotic arm. After returning to Earth to turn over the samples, it will then go into orbit around the sun for other experiments. NASA is hoping to gain knowledge about our planet and track asteroids in the future.
Austin Whitney recently received his degree from UCB. That in itself may not seem a huge deal, but Austin, after being in an accident that left him a paraplegic, managed to pick up his diploma by walking across the stage. He did so with the help of an Exoskeleton developed by a professor and fellow students. Funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the device was originally intended for soldiers carrying heavy weights in battle.