QBotix is introducing a track based robot to align solar panels towards the sun called Solbot. This is a single axis tracking system, as opposed to a dual axis tracker, which also accounts for what time of year it is. Aiming the solar panels towards the sun allows the solar panels to be more efficient and get more energy from the sun. Wikipedia states:
It is estimated that trackers are used in at least 85% of commercial installations greater than 1MW from 2009 to 2012.
Solbot runs on a track, much like a monorail and can service up to 200 solar panels in 40 minutes. When connecting with each panel, Solbot adjusts the angle of the panel, but also collects data about the panel. Solbot also has a certified IP-65 rating, meaning it is impervious to dust and water.
For larger solar panel arrays, more Solbots can be added to the system. When not servicing the solar panels, Solbot returns home to the charging station.
QBotix expects to have the first commercial customer up and running by the end of September.
Chinese inventor Cui Runquan invented a robot is named Chef Cui . The robot slices noodles using a back and forth motion, like a windshield wiper.
Last time we heard about the chef turned inventor, his robo noodle slicing chef was only a dream. Well, now Cui Runquan is actually manufacturing the robot and selling them for about $2,000 each. So far he has sold about 3,000 robots. Check out the noodle slicing robot in the clip below.
Researchers working for DARPA have created a soft robot that can walk and change colors.
The work is performed under DARPA’s Maximum Mobility and Manipulation or M3 program headed up by Gill Pratt.
This silicone robot that costs under $100 can even change it’s own temperature.
Gill Pratt states:
DARPA is developing a suite of robots that draw inspiration from the ingenuity and efficiency of nature. For defense applications, ingenuity and efficiency are not enough—robotic systems must also be cost effective. This novel robot is a significant advance towards achieving all three goals.
As you can see in the video below, the robot can blend into its surroundings by acting like a chameleon and changing it’s color.
The 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.