Special Coverage

Supercomputer Cooling System Uses Refrigerant to Replace Water
Computer Chips Calculate and Store in an Integrated Unit
Electron-to-Photon Communication for Quantum Computing
Mechanoresponsive Healing Polymers
Variable Permeability Magnetometer Systems and Methods for Aerospace Applications
Evaluation Standard for Robotic Research
Small Robot Has Outstanding Vertical Agility
Smart Optical Material Characterization System and Method
Lightweight, Flexible Thermal Protection System for Fire Protection
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Six-Legged Robots Move Faster with Bipod Gate

Researchers have discovered a faster and more efficient gait, never observed in nature, for six-legged robots walking on flat ground. Bio-inspired gaits, which are less efficient for robots, are used by real insects because they have adhesive pads to walk in three dimensions. (Credit: EPFL/Alain Herzog) Researchers in Lausanne, Switzerland have determined that a bipod gait is the fastest and most efficient way for six-legged robots to move on flat ground, provided they don’t have the adhesive pads used by insects to climb walls and ceilings. This suggests designers of insect-inspired robots should make a break with the nature-inspired tripod-gait paradigm.

Posted in: News, Motion Control, Robotics

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Will telepresence drones take off?

This week’s Question: According to a recent application made public last week, Google is hoping to patent a "mobile telepresence system." The proposed drone is designed for collaboration with colleagues from remote locations. The technology will fly indoors and move from room to room, adjusting to unpredictable floor plans. What do you think? Will telepresence drones take off?

Posted in: Question of the Week, Robotics

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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, Automation, Robotics, Disaster and emergency management, Emergency management, Robotics, Construction vehicles and equipment, Rescue and emergency vehicles and equipment

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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, Automation, Robotics, Performance upgrades, Robotics, Rescue and emergency vehicles and equipment, Vehicle dynamics

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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, Automation, Robotics, Artificial intelligence, Human machine interface (HMI), Collaboration and partnering, Systems engineering, 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, Automation, Sensors and actuators, Performance upgrades, Vibration, Electric drives, Spacecraft

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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, Automation, Particulate matter (PM), Ground vehicle operations, Product development, Drilling, Spacecraft

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