What if you could have a structure that was built brick by brick by flying robots? Well, the Swiss Federated Institute of Technology in Zurich made that rather Skynet-esque picture a reality recently when they showed their system for the Flying Machine Enabled Construction.
The video below shows several quadrocopter-based flying robots picking up and stacking bricks to form a circular structure. It is almost like a ballet as the robots work in tandem to stack the 866 bricks.
Is this the future of construction? While it might take a bit longer for the technology to be met with materials that are conducive to this type of building, it is easy to see how well it could work. In the future, a swarm of flying robots could erect a building close to you. Now that would be fascinating to watch.
A quadrotor, also called a quadrotor helicopter or quadrocopter, is an aircraft that is lifted and propelled by four rotors. Quadrotors are classified as rotorcraft, as opposed to fixed-wing aircraft, because their lift is derived from four rotors. Unlike most helicopters, quadrotors use fixed-pitch blades, whose rotor pitch does not vary as the blades rotate; control of vehicle motion is achieved by varying the relative speed of each rotor to change the thrust and torque produced by each.
Technology with robotics has finally reached a practical zenith. Introducing robotic partners TUM James and TUM Rosie, who can work together to create the holy trio of guy life – pancakes, popcorn, and, perhaps most importantly, a nice toasted sandwich.
The pair performed their cooking expertise at the CoTeSys Demo in Spring 2011. The versatile robots were presented by Intelligent Autonomous Systems Group at Technische Universität München.
First up, a pancake to get the day started.
Now for a nice meal consisting of popped popcorn and a toasted sandwich.
Finally, a real time (and, consequently, longer) video that explains the mechanics of the process, with the robots fixing a Bavarian Breakfast. It is fascinating to hear the mechanics of the food preparation being described, and it is easy to see the work that goes into something as simple as fixing a meal. But if this keeps up, that robotic chef I have always wanted is just around the corner…
The word "chef" is borrowed (and shortened) from the French term chef de cuisine, the director or head of a kitchen. (The French word comes from Latin caput and is cognate with English "chief".) In English, the title "chef" in the culinary profession originated in the haute cuisine of the 19th century. Today it is sometimes erroneously (in the view of those in the profession) used to refer to any professional cook, regardless of rank.
The PackBot by iRobot has quite a reputation on the field as an important tool of war. But it may soon have company from a smaller sibling. The tiny bot is known as Ember, and what it lacks in size it makes up for in durability and convenience.
Ember, roughly the size of a paperback book, can be carried in groups by a single soldier and deployed in the field, creating a mini swarm of multi-function robotic fun. One potential use is to load up the small bots with multiple transmitters and let them create a mobile wireless network to bridge the gaps for communication and control scenarios.
The one pound wonders are extremely durable, welcoming the bangs and bumps that are sure to happen in the given environment. If the going gets too tough, the bot packs dual flippers to lift and throw itself out of a jam. While the miniscule marvel is currently remote control only, future versions will pack artificial intelligence to allow it navigate around obstacles and no doubt carry out given instructions autonomously.
Ember will no doubt be a solid hit on the battlefield, but it could be useful in the private sector as well, tagging along after kids and patrolling houses at night. No word on the runtime per charge, but given its small weight (which adds to its durability from falls), it could have a fairly respectable up time. It might be good to keep an eye out on this one.
iRobot was founded in 1990 by Rodney Brooks, Colin Angle and Helen Greiner after working in MIT's Artificial Intelligence Lab. In 1998 the company received a DARPA research contract which led to the development of the PackBot. In September 2002, iRobot unveiled its home robots flagship, the Roomba, which has gone on to sell more than 3 million units to date. iRobot began being traded on the NASDAQ in November 2005 under ticker symbol IRBT. In October 2008, iRobot announced that over 2000 PackBots have been deployed.
Tadano Ltd recently unveiled a cool dual-armed quadrupedal robotic crane. The robot culminated a 60 year anniversary celebration for the ROBOTOPS company. Its development took over a year, and the device features dual treads, four legs and two arms. The appendages are designed with many 29 degrees of movement (six for the hand and arm, 2 for the shoulder, 12 for the feet, and more) in its body, allowing it to do things that a standard crane simply could not do.
Of course, with a look at the top picture, I have one thought that
comes to mind first – time for an old fashioned robotic throwdown. Get
together two of the robots (if two even exist at this time), and come
out swinging. Now this is what Robot Wars needs to interject some life
into the program. Check out the reach on the potential contender – nothing could even get close to it. Not
to mention the way it could plant its feet to deliver a knockout
punch. And with those grapplers it could grab and throw (or at least off balance) the
competitor. Even better, it could start ripping apart the unlucky opponent, grabbing anything that was handy. As a
crane it is very cool, but as a warrior this thing could be legendary.
The robot also incorporates several CCD cameras and a control system that allows for remote control via joystick (important so that the human component of the combat system escapes immediate injury). The unit measures at 2.1 x 3.84 x 2.1m, and weighs in at 2.7t. No word yet on future availability or coliseum appearances.
You knew it was going to happen eventually – robots taking to the streets and break dancin' all over the place. Why not – after all, they have the solid neck support to do the head stands (and having a spinning motor on their crown puts them in an elite class of spinning capability). They also have impecable timing (we're talking miliseconds here), as long as their hardware can keep up.
The sad news is that robotic hordes will probably be invading shows lilke Dancing with the Stars, replacing the celebrity hacks with something that could be hacked. Imagine, high speed highly accurate stars that literally live to perform their best, and no wrapup talk required.
Hey, I think I like this! The Manoi GoRobotic Kit could be the forerunner in this shift of dancing from the aesthetic to the robotic. And if we can teach robots to dance, maybe this whole global disaster of Terminators taking over humankind can be avoided. Don't repress them, let them dance!