We heard recently that there are fewer lifeguards these days because of low pay, high training fees charged to would-be guards and fewer qualifications because of weight. So it is fortunate that E.M.I.L.Y. (Emergency Integrated Lifesaving Lanyard) can handle some of the action.
Built by Hydronalix, this RC vehicle can be directed to those who are drowning or stranded. It can reach a speed of up to 25 mph and acts as a portable buoy for up to 4 people. In development for about 2 years, the $10,000 tool has worked its way to Malibu's Zuma Beach after LA County lifeguards helped improve the prototype.
Robots have been assembling car parts for years, so it seems only logical when designer Gregory Epps began studying robotics to be able to devise one that could create furniture. RoboFold is a multi-ton arm that twists 200 lb. sheets of steel in a way that would probably be impossible by a human. Designers use Rhino CAD to pick their shapes and the bot does his origami thing.
Robotics used in home maintenance, education, healthcare, entertainment and transportation has just been given a boost by Dmitry Grishin, the cofounder of Russia's internet company Mail.ru. He believes that the current state of the industry is where computers were in the early 80's and has formed Grishin Robotics to encourage the science with a $25 million fund.
With headquarters in New York but funding available internationally, Grishin is planning to donate $500,000 to 10 - 20 companies per year to those with feasible ideas, so devise a business plan and other information to illustrate your project and maybe you can build your own Rosie Robot!
Inspecting wind turbines is difficult at best as it involves photographing the problem through a telephoto lens. So GE's Global Research Center teamed with ICM and the result is a R/C wall climbing robot. With an HD cam attached to its back, it can climb up to 300 ft., take photos and send them back. Air is sucked out of the air between the turbinebot and the concrete, brick or metal surface it climbs, allowing the 30 lb. walker to hang on. A microwave device for looking inside blades is the next step.
Dan Chen's latest project combines ethics and robots in the field of service care. You feel a bit uneasy as the Last Moment Robot comments about its purpose, eerily comforts the patient and eventually calls out the time of death.
"I am here to help you and guide you through your last moment on earth."
Displayed at the Last Moment Hospital in Rhode Island, this interactive art installation certainly causes one to think of the need for someone close "at the end" and the possibility of a non-human filling the part. Chen readily admits that the idea partially came as a result of Paro, a MAID (Mechanical Assisted Intimacy Device) used as companions for the elderly and those with Alzheimers.
A Northeastern University team has developed an Eye-Controlled Robotic Arm Feeding Technology that can be manipulated by looking. The iCraft was designed for the disabled or elderly. By looking towards the food desired, the robotic arm will take over. Their prototype was built with about $900 and they have released open source software for those who would like to build their own.
Like sushi but can't seem to get enough of the fishy treat? One of Suzomo's SVR line of robots can produce 280 - 400 korimako rolls per hour. Another can handle up to 3,300 pieces of shari rice by the hour. The company also produces rice cookers, bento box makers and other sushi bots. We like the speed but would certainly miss the human touch.
While a student at John Hopkins, Thomas Smith took some off-the-shelf parts and created a motorized arm that can quickly grab images and place them on a scanner. Smith's bot literally sucks one up and places it on a photocopier that scans the back and front every 42 seconds, saving both time and a great deal of money. He soon teamed with the newspaper Afro to digitize their images.
Dubbed Project Gado, over 6,000 pictures are available online and can be viewed and/or purchased here. With a grant from the Abell Foundation, Smith built a second open source Gado kit at a cost of about $500.00. He is hoping that other publishers, libraries or other companies with photos to convert will invest.
Great news for roboticists who want to help save the planet. DARPA is sponsoring a massive competition with a prize of $2 million going to the winner. Beginning in October, the Robotic Challenge will be looking for autonomous emergency response robots. Entries will compete in physical challenges that involve perception, decision making, use of tools, endurance and other capabilities.
The winner must be able to drive a vehicle across dense terrain, remove debris, climb a ladder and replace a component. It can be humanoid with two arms and legs, a torso and head but non- can be entered as well. An online workshop is being held today for those who want specifics or check here for more information.
We previously told you about brothers Will and Matt Burrard-Lucas who went to Africa two years ago to photograph the wildlife there with their BeetleCam. They recently were visited by ABC Nightline's Jeffrey Kaufman where they once again put their creation to work. You can see other results on their site and if you really like their cam, they will build one for you.