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UAV Flies Indoors

By Chief Robot | Filed in Research

MIT AUVThe Robust Robotics Group at MIT has developed an algorithm that allows a fixed wing plane to fly indoors.

AUVs usually fly outside and rely on GPS to help navigate. Using a fixed 2 meter winged plan indoors without GPS makes the challenge even harder.

Nick Roy, an associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics and head of the Robust Robotics Group states:

The reason that we switched from the helicopter to the fixed-wing vehicle is that the fixed-wing vehicle is a more complicated and interesting problem, but also that it has a much longer flight time.

In the video below, the plane has already been given a map of where it is going, but it still needs to figure where it is on the map in real time by using sensors. The next step is to get the plane to generate a map on the fly.

Link via (MIT News)

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Printable Robots From MIT

By Chief Robot | Filed in Research

Photo By Jason Dorfman, CSAIL/MIT

MIT recently received a $10 million grant from the National Science Foundation.  CSAIL (Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory) at MIT is using the funding to develop a printable robot.

Daniel Rus, MIT professor and the project leader states:

This research envisions a whole new way of thinking about the design and manufacturing of robots, and could have a profound impact on society.

Someday you could head to a local printing store and select a robot that suits your need.  Then it would be printed out and you could take it home, all within 24 hours. While this sounds great, I’m not quite sure what they are printing already.  Is MIT printing just the origami legs shown here in the origami insect, or are they also printing the actual circuits?

Today one can already print out plastic items and parts if you own a Makerbot, but just imagine being able to someday print out an entire robot! Now that is exciting! Also involved in the program called An Expedition in Computing for Compiling Printable Programmable Machines are the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University.

Link via CSAIL

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Robotic Jellyfish

By Chief Robot | Filed in Research

Researchers at the Virginia Tech have created a jellyfish inspired robot called RoboJelly.  Using shape memory alloy composites , the robot is able to propel itself like a real jellyfish.

Virginia Tech is also looking at not powering the robot through clunky batteries, but by a chemical reaction from oxygen and hydrogen in the water and platinum coated on the surface of the robot.

Using this chemical reaction would give the robot a potentially infinite power supply.

Shown here is RoboJelly in the testing tank.

Of course Robojelly reminds us of Aquajelly by Festo.

Link via (Future of Tech)

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Quadrotor Swarm

By Chief Robot | Filed in Research

Thanks to the people at GRASP Lab , part of the University of Pennsylvania, we have quadrotors that can do things like make figure eights.  Amazing how the swarm of quadrotors can change formation patterns mid flight. 
Alex Kushleyev, Daniel Mellinger and professor Vijay Kumar have developed the quadrotors.

Check out Daniel Mellinger’s page for more information on his quadrotor developments.  Nice work guys. I wonder how they are sending commands to the quadrotors and how long then can stay in the air.

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US Navy’s Eel Robot

By Chief Robot | Filed in Research, Robot News

Eel robotA grant from the Office of Naval Research has funded research at the University of New Orleans’ School of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, resulting in a robotic eel.

Thanks to  Dr. Brandon Taravella and his research team, the eel is made up of 13 sections, each one containing a servo motor.  The brain is in the eel’s head and the plastic housing is made from a 3D printer.  The robotic eel will contain a variety of sensors and be used to check for mines or other suspicious activity.

This is not the first robot like this.  We have also seen Georgia Tech’s sand swimming robot as well as other snake robots, but hopefully this one will help keep our troops safe.

The screen grab photo is from an ABC video at the source.

Link via (ABC 26)

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