Thursday, May 12, 2005

Gundam Seed Destiny


Just last night the editor of this blog went to bed wondering if tomorrow would bring some science blog goodies and lo and behold, the blog fairy granted this wish! On the BBC was this picture without much information:r. Seems a Japanese group built a real working Gundam/Luke Skywalker style mecha. Yours for only a mere $280,000. It even balls! Someone call Rummy and tell him about this.(there is a movie of the mecha at this url)

Recently, Sony made a robot that runs and jumps. It too, has a video on line.

In the past, when a robot walked, it was a big news. Now researchers are challenging to make a robot run. Sony demonstrated Qrio, a humanoid robot, running today," said Toshitada Doi, executive vice president of Sony and president of Sony's intelligent dynamics laboratories.

Attempts to make robots run and jump date back to hopping robots MIT in 1980s. Sony also developed a running Aibo in 2001. But Sony said Qrio could be the first autonomous robot with an internal control system and power supply that runs, jumps and walks.

Running is defined by robot designers as "the loss of contact," like speed walkers. Qrio stays aloft for about 40 milliseconds when jumping and for about 20 milliseconds when running. In a demonstration, it ran 14 meters per second. To make Qrio run, Sony engineers developed new motion control software and improved hardware with an enhanced actuator and processor.

Robot wheelchairs are being designed. This is very exciting research with wide open applications.

While many robots operate independently of their human users, some robots are built to have their users work very closely with them, even as a passenger. Robotic wheelchairs are being developed to assist people move through the world more easily and safely. Wheelesley, shown above, is an example of a robotic wheelchair. It uses sonar, infrared, bump and vision sensors to navigate through the world. The robot has two drive wheels in the center of the wheelchair with casters in the front and back for balance support.

While googling for information we found this:

Robots are being let loose in a colony of machines in an attempt to find out whether they can learn from their experiences.
The scientists behind this unusual experiment describe it as an evolutionary arms race for robots, with the machines struggling to collect energy.

The Living Robots experiment will be open to the public from 27 March at the Magna science adventure centre in Rotherham in England.

Visitors will be able to watch the real life Robot Wars in a purpose-built arena, designed to hold 500 people.

Several years ago I was asked to be on "Junkyard Wars" only they did the filming in LA during the school semester which made a four week trip out of the question. I do love doing this sort of thing. Wish it happened here in upstate NY.

Here in NY at Cornell comes this fascinating story last night:

Scientists have created a robot that can replicate itself in minutes. The team behind the machine says the experiment shows that self- reproduction is not unique to living organisms

The researchers add that the ability could be harnessed to drive major advances in nanotechnology, the science of the very small, and may even lead to space colonization by robots.

Developed by researchers at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, the machine was constructed from cube-shaped robotic units (modules) that functioned independently. A four-module robot could assemble an exact replica of itself in just two and a half minutes.

Hmmm. Replicating mecha military robots...reminds me of more than one Japanese to check out the library of DVDs.

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