Tag Archives: animals

Robot Roundup – March 1, 2012

Biomimetic Robotic Fish
Robot fish may one day help to save living ones.

Shopping around for your next robot chef? Thinking about getting a little exercise with a virtual workout partner? Maybe you’re planning on taking your autonomous auto out for a spin, or searching for ways to lead wildlife to safety in the wake of a natural disaster?

As the following summaries show, scientists are working overtime to help make each of those visions a reality.

Swishy Robot Fools School – http://www.poly.edu/press-release/2012/03/01/what-makes-robot-fish-attractive-hint-its-moves

Researchers at New York University’s Polytechnic Institute (NYU-Poly) are exploring ways robots might help to guide wildlife away from environmental disasters and human-created dangers in the future. Their findings show that biomimetic robotic fish can actually assume leadership roles, which is described in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.

The paper reports that live fish in the experiments appear to “follow in the wake of the biomimetic robot fish, taking advantage of the energy savings generated by the robot.”

These experiments may open up new channels for us to explore the possibilities for robotic interactions with live animals — an area that is largely untapped. By looking to nature to guide our design, and creating robots that tap into animals’ natural cues, we may be able to influence collective animal behavior to aid environmental conservation and disaster recovery efforts.” 

— Maurizio Porfiri, associate professor of mechanical engineering, Polytechnic Institute of New York University

Robot Innovations for Everyday Life in the Future http://www.kit.edu/visit/pi_2012_8981.php

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and  the FZI Research Center for Information Technology are presenting innovations for everyday life in the future at CeBIT, the trade fair that showcases digital IT and telecommunications solutions, which will run from March 6 to 10, 2012, in Hanover, Germany. The innovations from KIT and FZI include a humanoid kitchen robot that will move around and the interactive HoLLiE service robot.

Kitchen Robot Learns by Watching

In addition to recognizing objects and grasping them with just the right amount of pressure, ARMAR, a humanoid robot, can negotiate its environment, understands and executes commands independently, and even learns by watching humans.

ARMAR - Robot
ARMAR can understand and execute commands independently and even learns by watching humans.

Even if you don’t understand German, the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5x1G0nkSd9w is entertaining to watch.

Service Robot Interacts Intuitively

HoLLiE (House of Living Labs intelligent Escort) will show how it intuitively interacts with people at CeBIT. The system is designed to provide those who need care with food, medicine, and interactive entertainment.

Thanks to a modern 3D sensor system, HoLLiE can understand the body movement of its counterpart. In the scenario presented, HoLLiE asks its counterpart to do some sports together in order to remain in good shape. This function may be of therapeutic value to elderly people or people in need of care, but also serve to entertain everybody regardless of age.”

— Press Release, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Smart Intersections for Autonomous Vehicles – http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-02/uota-csd021312.php

After building an autonomous car with his students, Peter Stone of The University of Texas at Austin has turned his attention to research on autonomous intersection management.

A future where sitting in the backseat of the car reading our newspaper while it drives us effortlessly through city streets and intersections is not that far away. Computers can already fly a passenger jet much like a trained human pilot, but people still face the dangerous task of driving automobiles. Vehicles are being developed that will be able to handle most of the driving tasks themselves. But once autonomous vehicles become popular, we need to coordinate those vehicles on the streets”

— Peter Stone, professor of computer science, The University of Texas, Austin

© Tony Leininger and IT for Good 2012. See sidebar for full copyright notice.

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Snake Movement Inspires Search-and-Rescue Robot Design

All-terrain search-and-rescue robots must be able to move over a wide variety of surfaces, explore tight spaces, and ascend slopes of varying degrees. Some robots can already do these types of things, but most of them need to consume hefty amounts of energy to so do. Now, researchers at Georgia Tech have designed a more flexible, energy-efficient search-and-rescue robot by observing the way snakes move.

Scalybot 2, a robot that mimics the sinuous locomotion of snakes, was developed by Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. candidate Hamid Marvi at Georgia Tech. “By using their scales to control frictional properties, snakes are able to move large distances while exerting very little energy,” Marvi explains.

Snakes are highly maligned creatures. I really like that Hamid’s research is showing the public that snakes can help people.”

— Joe Mendelson, curator of herpetology, Zoo Atlanta

Learn more at http://www.gatech.edu/newsroom/release.html?nid=79331

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIHlRLKMG9M

© Tony Leininger and IT for Good 2012. See sidebar for full copyright notice.

Nanotech Research May Help Reduce Need for Animal Testing

Monkeys, rats, and their human friends around the world are applauding researchers at the Fraunhofer Research Institution for Modular Solid State Technologies EMFT in Munich today. The EMFT team announced yesterday that they may have found an alternative to animal testing.

Their research looks at using nanosensors to help decrease the need for experiments that involve the use of animals. While the applause may be justified, a standing ovation would be premature. As the researchers point out, “…before this procedure can be applied, it must first be approved by the regulatory authorities.”

Our nanosensors allow us to detect adenosine triphosphate and determine the state of health of cells. This makes it possible to assess the cell-damaging effects of medical compounds or chemicals.”

— Dr. Jennifer Schmidt, Fraunhofer Research Institution for Modular Solid State Technologies

What do you think? Considering the increasing speed of technical advances, should regulatory authorities expedite their approval processes?

Learn more at http://www.fraunhofer.de/en/press/research-news/2012/january/fewer_animal_experimentsthankstonanosensors-researchnewsjanuary2.html

© Tony Leininger and IT for Good 2012. See sidebar for full copyright notice.