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Rescue Robot Has Remote Control Function

A group of Japanese researchers developed a prototype construction robot for disaster relief situations.A group of researchers at Osaka University, Kobe University, Tohoku University, The University of Tokyo, and Tokyo Institute of Technology developed construction robots for disaster relief that solve the various challenges of conventional construction machines used in such situations. Using a prototype machine, verification tests were performed in places that represented disaster sites to confirm successful performance. This prototype looks like an ordinary hydraulic excavator, but uses the following technologies: The rescue robot is shown with a UAV. (Image: Hiroshi Yoshinada)

Posted in: Briefs, Machinery & Automation, Robotics

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Small Robot Has Outstanding Vertical Agility

Power modulation increases the robot’s peak jumping power by storing muscular energy in stretchy tendons.Roboticists at the University of California, Berkeley, have designed a small robot that can leap into the air and then spring off a wall, or perform multiple vertical jumps in a row, resulting in what they claim is the highest robotic vertical jumping agility ever recorded. The agility of the robot opens new pathways of locomotion, and the researchers hope that one day this robot and other vertically agile robots can be used to jump around rubble in search and rescue missions.

Posted in: Briefs, Machinery & Automation, Robotics

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Interactive Robot Control System and Method of Use

Robonaut 2 can enter hazardous areas or tackle difficult terrain without endangering its human operator.Researchers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC), in collaboration with General Motors and Oceaneering, have designed a state-of-the-art, highly dexterous, humanoid robot: Robonaut 2 (R2). R2 is made up of multiple systems and subcomponents: vision systems, image-recognition systems, sensors, control algorithms, and much more. R2’s nearly 50 patented and patent-pending technologies have the potential to be game-changers in multiple industries. One of the most promising applications for the R2 technologies is in the area of hazardous environments. R2 has the capability to work in remote locations separate from the human controller. R2 can function autonomously, or it can be controlled by direct teleoperations.

Posted in: Briefs, Machinery & Automation, Robotics

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Piezoelectric Actuator with Dual Horns that are Separately Controllable to Drive Miniature Vehicles Along a Single Axis

The technology enables miniature vehicles to operate in extreme environments for space, military, and industrial uses.Actuators are a critical driver of all the mechanisms used in space, and improvements of their operation mechanism enhance mission capabilities. The disclosed invention is a new type of actuator that simultaneously drives dual mechanisms (e.g., rotors, wheels, etc.) at opposite sides of a piezoelectric stack using the generated vibrations. The actuator consists of dual-sided horns and is capable of operating ratcheting mechanisms through walls.

Posted in: Briefs, Machinery & Automation

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Chain Drive Dust Conveyer

This method clears cutting fines from a sampling tool without the use of fluids. A chain drive through a tube is used to convey dust and fines. The chain can maneuver in any angle within a certain allowable bend radius. The catch features can be spherical or cylindrical. The Mars 2020 coring drill will generate a significant amount of dust and debris (known as fines) due to the volume of milled material displaced by the corer’s annulus. These cuttings must be removed to ensure that the drill does not jam. The typical method involves fluids, which may not work on Mars due to the atmospheric conditions.

Posted in: Briefs, Machinery & Automation

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Robot Powertrain Moves Toward Energy Autonomy

A smart gear box can significantly reduce energy consumption for future dyke inspection robots.Inspecting the condition of dykes and other sea defense structures is typically a task for a team of robots. They consume a lot of energy to move across the dykes, perform tests, and communicate the results for six hours a day. Because charging stations are not a realistic scenario, University of Twente researcher Douwe Dresscher looked at making the robot as energy autonomous as possible. He obtained good results by having the robot store mechanical — rather than electrical — energy, and by introducing an innovative automatic gear box. The gear box is a modern version of the “variomatic” model used in Dutch DAF automobiles. While the variomatic uses a belt drive, the inspection robot uses two metal hemispheres.

Posted in: Briefs, Machinery & Automation, Robotics

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Evaluation Standard for Robotic Research

Universal benchmarks can standardize the measurement of robotic manipulation tasks.The Yale-CMU-Berkeley (YCB) Object and Model Set provides universal benchmarks for labs specializing in robotic manipulation and prosthetics. About two years ago, Aaron Dollar, an associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at Yale University, came up with the benchmark idea to bring a level of specificity and universality to manipulation tasks in robotics research. He enlisted the help of two former colleagues in the robotics community, Dr. Siddhartha Srinivasa from Carnegie-Mellon University and Dr. Pieter Abbeel of the University of California, Berkeley.

Posted in: Briefs, Machinery & Automation

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