It's a bit hard to see (and note the cheesy Benny Hill soundtrack,) but the gist of this video is Kurt Grandis making war with squirrels who kept sneaking onto his bird feeder. Using a Super Soaker, he rigged it to shoot at non-birds or "squirrelness." Guess who wins. Check the link for the entire presentation.
Intelligent Automation's Multi-Arm Unmanned Ground Vehicle can multi-task with three arms, three cameras with depth perception and 29º of freedom. The MA-UGV can be programmed for autonomous chores and is being used in tool handling and manipulation, backpack inspection, door breaching, knot tying and other military applications like IED diffusion.
Garabato Bot (DoodleBOT in English) puts both Spirograph and Etch A Sketch to shame. Spanish Aerospace Engineering Miguel Ángel de Fruto used some 3D printed parts, 2 stepper motors attached to a power driver, an Atmega 328 board, batteries and Bluetooth wireless connectivity. The Arduino-powered artist is as good as its user's talent and we are mightily impressed by this early effort. Miguel says with an extra servomotor it could handle more complicated artwork. Would this be a good time to ask if it could sketch a quick pic of Mitt?
Virginia Tech researchers, in conjunction with other universities, created a robotic jellyfish that can be powered by sea water. Commissioned by the U.S. Navy, the robojelly mimics movements of its living counterpart by allowing water in, closing up to push it back out, resulting in a jet that propels it. Made mostly of silicon, its artificial muscles have a shape-memory alloy that helps it return to its original form. Environmentally friendly, possible usage could be in surveillance and environmental monitoring.
Tek RMD has developed a device for those who cannot walk on their own. The Tek carries an individual around upright or in a sitting position. It can be called via remote and the user can strap him/herself in. A joystick is then used for navigation. It will go for about 3 days before needing a charge. Yusuf Akturkoglu, who was paralyzed after a fall 5 years ago, uses the Tek and it made him mobile again. Available in 5 sizes, the Turkish company custom makes them at a cost of ~$15,000.
Check out Harry's Law latest airing as it featured the use of mini-drones to spy on people in the U.S., a topic that we wrote about last month. Anyone who watches primetime knows that writers like to pepper episodes with a smattering of facts tossed in for effect. Catch last nite's episode on NBC's site.
Piccolo is a mini, open source CNC platform for the masses that will become available later this year at an affordable price. Once assembled, it could become a platform for a regular 2 or 3D printer and several could create a large mural. A prototype is being made that is that is composed of digitally manufactured parts and off-the-shelf hardware. Sign up if you would like to know when the kit becomes available.
Here's a thought. Suppose a wireless network could be set up in areas where the internet and social network access is not allowed so that activists and rebels could let the outside in? Suppose no more. Electronic Countermeasures was created by Liam Young and London based Tomorrow's Thoughts Today.
The idea is that UAVs establish temporary networks literally on the fly. The best part of it all is that they could be utilized wirelessly with mobile devices so that no connection is needed. This pirate interweb could be moved around with autonomous drones wherever and whenever needed. Kudos to the group and others like it that seek the truth and a way to make it public.
Boston Dynamics has come a long ways since Big Dog. Their latest accomplishment is Cheetah, a robotic creature that just broke a speed record at 18 mph, beating out MIT's 13.1 mph made in 1989. Running on a treadmill and powered by a hydraulic pump, the feline bot's movements are based on the real thing and it increases its pace by flexing and unflexing its back with each step. Funded by DARPA and geared eventually for the military, BD is planning on making it free-running and taking it into the real world later this year.
The University of Penn's GRASP Lab continues to make strides with its quadrotors. Presented at the TED2012 Conference, Vijay Kumar and team demonstrated their swarming ability by playing the James Bond theme song. Moving in unison, the nano quads receive a series of waypoints, this time specific keyboard notes or guitar strings. Each autonomously figures how to attend its task without interfering with the others.