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April 18, 2007

Miniature automata

I'm still waiting for a robot "gofer" that can bring me a phillips screwdriver and three fingers of tequila. Maybe throw all the clothes from bin 1 into the washer. It's certain to happen, dunno when.

Fanciful ideas spring to mind when I visit Trossen Robotics. Their page of components lists some of the essential elements to create semi-sentient beings: sensors for distance, force, pressure, imaging, gyros, accelerometers and motion. All complemented with instruction. If only I had the time.



Idiot journalists are calling this a robot; I call it a remote. Japanese researchers at Ritsumeikan University came up with this cockroach lookin' contraption that fits into a half inch incision.

From there, it pulls the control, power and TV cables to wherever its needed to perform medical procedures. They say its capable of excising diseased tissue and delivering drug treatments.




They might give a call to Zac Wheeler at Poor Robot. His wheeled Pico robot is shown sitting on a dime.

Granted, it doesn't do much except go forward, bump into something, back up and turn right. Still, its a good start. Pico runs under its own power for 15 minutes and is autonomous - a true robot.

Zac is looking to add GIS for controlling location data and a transmitter to send pics from an on-board camera. He might check the help wanted ads at DARPA.

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