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Plants could soon have robotic counterparts. Barbara Mazzolai from the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa and colleagues are creating a system that mimics the behaviour of roots. The team plans to use bespoke soft sensors for underground exploration, tips that grow by unwinding material and a mechanism to reduce friction when penetrating the soil. The artificial system will be equipped to detect gravity, water, temperature, touch, pH, nitrate and phosphate.
Modelling a growing root is complex because it bends while increasing in length, adding cells on the opposite side from the direction in which it is heading. At the same time, a root perceives several physical and chemical stimuli at once and prioritises them; how it makes these decisions is not completely understood. “The mock-ups and prototypes we’ve developed aim to validate some of the functions and features of plant roots,” says Mazzolai.
In addition to mimicking a single root, the team is also looking at how roots interact with each other, coordinating their movements through soil. “New findings could be the basis for novel swarm intelligence,” says Mazzolai.
The system could produce more energy-efficient robots that can adapt to their environment. An obvious use for plant-like robots is environmental monitoring in soil, but their knack for exploration and ability to anchor themselves could have applications in space.
They also have potential uses in medicine, for example as flexible, growing endoscopes that can move easily inside a human body. “The ability to bend, grow at low pressure and with low friction while adapting to the surrounding environment could offer a new vision for medical tools,” says Mazzolai.
The system was shown last week at the Living Machines conference in London.
Mother’s Day is observed the second Sunday in May. It is a time to honor mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers for their contribution to family and society. Since it is not a federal holiday, businesses may be open or closed as any other Sunday ; as for us, we would like to invite every family to come and visit our branch this Mother’s Day and why not get the whole family together for some cool fun- robotic adventure? We will be waiting for you!
Date: 7th and 8th May 2016
Venue: Atria Shopping Gallery, Damansara
In the world of robotics, some inventions are stranger than fiction. The massive Kurata robot could easily be mistaken for the made-believe machines in such Hollywood blockbusters as “Transformers” and “Real Steel.”
The Japanese robot, made by Suidobashi Heavy Industry, stands a menacing 13-feet-tall (4 meters), and is equipped with “machine guns” and “rocket launchers” in its arms (they’re actually BB Guns and fireworks, which are still dangerous). These huge humanoid machines can be piloted manually from a cockpit inside the robot, or they can be controlled remotely using a smartphone.
Want your very own Kurata robot? These custom-built machines can be purchased for more than $1.35 million.
French company Aldebaran Robotics, headquartered in Paris, developed an autonomous and programmable robot named Nao. This interactive bot is equipped with cutting-edge motion, vision and audio capabilities.
The Nao robot can walk on different surfaces, track and recognize faces and objects, express and understand emotions, and react to touch or voice commands. And if that’s not enough, the robot can also do the Gangnam Style dance (yes, really).
In 2005, the whizzes at Boston Dynamics created a four-legged robot, called BigDog, to serve as a robotic pack mule for the military. The project was funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the branch of the U.S. Department of Defense tasked with developing new technologies for the military.
BigDog walks on four sturdy legs, and it can accompany soldiers across terrain deemed too rough for vehicles. The robot can lug 340 pounds (150 kilograms) of cargo and is capable of keeping up a pace of 4 mph (6.4 km/h).
It may not be what typically comes to mind when people think of “robots,” but this humanlike contraption was designed to simulate the symptoms of the H1N1 (swine) flu to help train Japanese doctors. The robot, which is covered in material resembling human skin, can sweat, cry and even convulse. If the robots do not receive proper treatment, their symptoms gradually get worse, and in some cases, they can even stop breathing and “die.”
The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory’s Octavia robot is a humanoid machine with perhaps some of the creepiest facial features. Octavia is a firefighting robot designed to help engineers test new technologies to assist members of the U.S. Naval Fleet.
Octavia is designed to interact with humans, and engineers are trying to develop ways for the robot to identify and track people, understand what humans say, and recognize any gestures they make. Eventually, scientists hope Octavia will be able to work shoulder-to-shoulder with human teammates, with sophisticated speech and visual recognition capabilities.
Scientists have created the world’s tiniest practical engines, and these light-powered machines could one day power microscopic robots small enough to enter living cells, the researchers say.
As technological innovations make devices smaller and smaller, scientists are developing machines that are only the size of complex molecules — nanometers, or billionths of a meter, in scale. In comparison, the average human hair is about 100,000 nanometers wide.
One of the main reasons “nanobots” remain in the realm of science fiction is that figuring out a way to make them move has been challenging. Researchers have tried using a variety of power sources and propulsion systems for nanotechnology, but these typically lack speed, strength and control.
– Read more at: LiveScience