While we wait to see what the year 2017 has in store for robot aficionados, we at IndianWeb2 decided to give our readers a quick recap of what all happened in the World of Robot last year.
The Avatar Robot Became A Reality
The 13-foot Method 2 robot from South Korea bears a close resemblance to the military robots in the hit Hollywood movie “Avatar”.
According to Hankook Mirae Technology, the South Korean robotics company behind the Method 2 robot, the robot is world’s first manned bipedal robot and is built to work in extreme hazardous areas where it is difficult for humans to reach.
The 1.5 ton robot, which makes the ground shake under its weight, is expected to go on sale by the end of 2017 at a price of around $8.3 million.
The Robot That Can Take It All
The year 2016 witnessed Google owned robotics company, Boston Dynamics releasing a series of videos of its machine, 5′ 9″ Atlas robot, being repeatedly knocked over and pushed by its human masters and getting up each time, giving a testimonial of its great endurance.
Weighing 12 stone 12 pounds, the latest semi lifelike creation from Boston Dynamics can walk on two legs, open doors, stroll through a snow-filled forest, and even pick up boxes to stack them aesthetically on shelves. But, what made the robot stand out was its ability to stay on its two feet even when it was brutally/violently pushed, and even stand back up of its own when knocked over.
Thousands of Synchronized Dancing Robots
You thought a one big robot was terrifying; what about thousands of tiny ones doing synchronized dance moves? You shivered, didn’t you?
The year 2016 saw 1,040 robots, each just under 44 centimeters in height, performing a synchronized dance routine in China to set a new Guinness World Record for the largest simultaneous robot dance. Of the 1,040, only 1,007 finished the challenge and created the record.
The Robot Which Can Sew
Seattle-based web developer Jonathan Zornow has created Sewbo, the first robot in the world that can sew together a complete item of clothing.
Zornow’s main aim behind building Sewbo was to “create higher quality clothing at lower costs.” The Sewbo is made up of a $35,000 Universal Robot arm, a traditional sewing machine, and the reusable thermoplastic solution. The Swebo has the potential to put a complete end to sweatshop labour in the manufacture of low-cost garments.
The Sweating Press-Up Robot
At the end of the day, robots are machines, and like any other machine they are also prone to overheating. In fact, Robots require a lot of wiring and computing power to function, so they run a risk of overheating more than many machines. The University of Tokyo decided to do something about the same and came up with a solution.
The Kengoro robot developed by the University of Tokyo sweats as it does press-ups, along water to evaporate on its overheating motors and staying cool. The engineers have made this possible by creating small gaps in Kengoro’s frame that allow water to seep out, and cool the areas that are most likely get overheated.
The technique is something similar to how humans sweat. It is being considered as a lightweight alternative to the traditional cooling systems and gives Kengoro the ability to function a lot longer than would have otherwise been possible.
The Robot Dog Servant
Google owned robotics company, Boston Dynamics creation Spot Mini, is a four-legged robotic dog that can climb stairs, do small household jobs like loading the dishwasher, giving a can of coke to its owner, and can even dance. Weighing 29kgs, the robot dog can work for up to 90 minutes on a single charge.
Notably, SpotMini is a smaller version of the Spot robot, weighing 55 lbs dripping wet (65 lbs if you include its arm.) SpotMini is all-electric (no hydraulics) and runs for about 90 minutes on a charge, depending on what it is doing. SpotMini is one of the quietest robots Boston Dynamics have ever built. It has a variety of sensors, including depth cameras, a solid state gyro (IMU) and proprioception sensors in the limbs. These sensors help with navigation and mobile manipulation. SpotMini performs some tasks autonomously, but often uses a human for high-level guidance.