New robots climb stairs and have spines
Robotics researchers from around the world gathered in San Francisco to share their work at the 2011 International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems. SmartPlanet correspondent Sumi Das gets friendly with robots that are flying to greater heights and interacting in more human-like ways.
Music Simi Dass: If you want to see the latest developments in robotics, this is the place. The International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems. We found robots that can fly, fetch a drink and even one that can wield a light saber. Light saber humming The Jedi-bot is the work of "Star Wars" loving Stanford students. By hacking a Microsoft Kinect and programming this pre-made arm, the robot can sense its opponent's movement. Here in defensive mode, the Jedi-bot protects itself, brandishing its light saber at 90 degree angles to the attacker's weapon. Robots are often designed to perform tasks that are considered dull, dirty and dangerous. These flying robots from Ascendi phonetic Technology based in Germany, have on board cameras and they're capable of autonomous navigation. After the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, they were used to scan unstable buildings that were too unsafe for rescuers to enter. And in the future, it could be used to inspect nuclear power plants like the one in Fukushima. Flying isn't the only way robots can get around. The U-bot has omni-directional wheels. While the re-zero glides along and balances on a rotating ball thanks to its inertial measurement device which gauges the pitch angle to remain stable. This robot has been programmed to move through indoor spaces without assistance, even up stairs. Using lasers, the robot scans the area, detects stair edges and then repositions to climb the step. And check out the smooth moves on this humanoid robot. Instead of the typical stiffness, acroban's motions are more natural and fluid, thanks to a bio-inspired spine and shock absorbing dampers.
>> When most humanoid robots have a box, a rigid box in the torso, it has a spine with the essential degrees of freedom of the human being, actually. Simi Dass: And if you take Acroban by the hand, it won't resist, but allows you to guide its limbs. It's one way humans could teach robots how to move and perform tasks. These robots may one day occupy our homes and fetch drinks from the fridge, or provide much needed aid for the elderly. Meet Jenny. This robot can analyze commands given, identity the necessary steps, and then execute the action. Thanks, Jenny. From flying and fighting, to climbing and dancing, judging by these robots, the possibilities of what they will do in the future are limitless. For Smart Planet, I'm Simi Dass. Music