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Robotics

Swinging Robot Excels At Wall-Climbing 54

Posted by timothy
from the creepy-in-the-good-sense dept.
Zothecula writes "Engineers have used a variety of techniques to create robots that can scale walls — the Climber uses a rolling seal, while the insect-like robots from SRI have caterpillar tracks with electro-adhesive properties. While such robots generally focus on speed, adhering to the wall and deciding how and when to move, the creators of a small robot named ROCR say it is the first wall-climbing robot to focus on climbing efficiently. And it does so by using the momentum of a tail that swings like a grandfather clock's pendulum."
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Swinging Robot Excels At Wall-Climbing

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 06, 2010 @02:32AM (#33158658)

    Pardon my Latin (I actually don't know any). Anyway, those of you familiar with Ray Kurzweil's writings know well his predictions of when robots (A.I.) will surpass then vastly outperform humans in intellectual powers.

    Well here's something that people may have overlooked. Robots may well surpass us sooner (a lot sooner?) in physical tasks. There was a demo of a small UAV that could fly up and "stick" to a wall using a maneuver impossible for a human controller to emulate (this is not the same as the MIT UAVs that can perch). Also, there were the Stanford (?) micro-helicopters which "learned" acrobatic stunts from their controllers and surpassed them. I heard of a unmanned car that could perform on of those crazy slide sideways into a parking space maneuvers. And then of course there is "Big Dog" which can take a flying kick and keep walking.

    It is interesting that most sci-fi movies portray robots as powerful, even indestructible but slow and sometimes clumsy. I can think of only one movie where they had a robot that was clearly Man's physical (as well as mental) superior ; the panther like military robot in "Red Planet". It stalked and "played" with its human prey, wounding but not killing in order to slow the group down (I seem to remember).

    Of course what's really going on is that this is just a side effect of Kurzweil's predictions. Motors and metals aren't getting much better but the processors and algorithms that run on them are. A good example might be from one of William Gibson's novels where ordinary drones and shrubbery sheering robots become tools of murder in the hands of the A.I.

    I no longer login because I feel that while attacking a company's products is fair game (specifically Apple), having stories singling out their users as "selfish" and unkind is not "news for nerds stuff that matters". Am I an Apple fanboi? Let's just say I've used NIX for decades (yes I'm old) and I'm not talking OS X.

    • by Farmer Tim (530755) <`roundfile' `at' `mindless.com'> on Friday August 06, 2010 @02:51AM (#33158700) Journal

      And then of course there is "Big Dog" which can take a flying kick and keep walking.

      But not from Chuck Norris, and that's humanity's trump card.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by MRe_nl (306212)

        Maybe we should build an army of Chuck Norris clones off-planet just in case of Big Dog becoming self-aware, Chancellor?

    • by ikkonoishi (674762) on Friday August 06, 2010 @03:01AM (#33158720) Journal

      We are seeing robots that can beat humans in certain tasks that they have been specifically designed for, but we have not yet even begun to have any robots that can adapt to different tasks on their own without being told. Also robots have a long way to go towards having the ability to survive without logistical support such as repairs, parts, or energy supplies. They are still just fancy complex tools which humans can use as they see fit.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Also robots have a long way to go towards having the ability to survive without logistical support such as repairs, parts, or energy supplies

        So do most humans..

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by maxwell demon (590494)

          Actually humans are to a quite large degree self-repairing. For quite a long time they also managed to survive without replacement parts (the survival rate is much higher now that we have the ability to repair beyond self-repair, and to make replacement parts of certain body parts, though). You've got a point with energy supplies, although humans are quite flexible in what they can use as energy supply (basically, most living things will do), and can survive quite some time between energy refills. On the ot

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by drinkypoo (153816)

        Also robots have a long way to go towards having the ability to survive without logistical support such as repairs, parts, or energy supplies.

        When I hear about printers that can make parts with flexible and rigid components I think that time must not be very far off.

      • by RichiH (749257)

        > ability to survive without logistical support such as repairs, parts, or energy supplies

        To be fair, you probably like to visit the doc and eat food every once in a while, too.

    • by Dr_Barnowl (709838) on Friday August 06, 2010 @03:46AM (#33158844)

      most sci-fi movies portray robots as powerful, even indestructible but slow and sometimes clumsy

      I think the trend decreases as the ability to produce special effects increases ; clunky slow robots in movies appear to be caused by clunky slow SFX.

      Other notable exceptions to the clunky and slow law, excepting robots / cyborgs played by human actors ; the NX 6 class robot bodies in I, Robot, any robot in the Matrix trilogy, the robot spiders in Minority Report.

      • I'd said you're probably correct. Robots in cartoons and animated film never really suffered from poor SFX, and since they made the perfect bad guy (no blood etc) there's plenty of examples of threading/ badass ones.
        Robots in any of the sci-fi books I've read have also tend to be superior to humans in most regards.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by stephanruby (542433)

      Motors and metals aren't getting much better but the processors and algorithms that run on them are.

      Micro-controllers are great for prototyping, but couldn't this particular example be made purely out of something that resembles the mechanism inside a wooden grandfather's clock (without any sort of processor whatsoever). There would still be the question of making the claws of course, but I'm leaving this question for someone else who's smarter than me. From the video, I'm not even sure how the claws work currently. Does anyone else think that the wall they're using is probably gritty? and that the robot

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ledow (319597)

      "I can think of only one movie where they had a robot that was clearly Man's physical (as well as mental) superior ; the panther like military robot in "Red Planet""

      Apparently never watched the Terminator movies then. Those robots were vastly superior to a human physical form, and only fail because of their vulnerability to large explosions, liquid nitrogen, liquid metal, multiple huge weapons and/or human intellect outwitting them.

      Robots are already, and have been for many years, physically superior to a

    • In one of the pictures in the article, the robot did appear to be attaching the smug-looking goateed fellow.
    • I no longer login because I feel that while attacking a company's products is fair game (specifically Apple), having stories singling out their users as "selfish" and unkind is not "news for nerds stuff that matters". Am I an Apple fanboi? Let's just say I've used NIX for decades (yes I'm old) and I'm not talking OS X.

      You know, registered users can have signatures. [slashdot.org]

  • Swinger (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Swinging Robot

    Does it try to sleep with my wife?

  • Gibbons (Score:5, Informative)

    by Olli_Niemitalo (1626637) on Friday August 06, 2010 @03:57AM (#33158870)
    Gibbon monkeys are probably the fastest climbers, and they keep their momentum by swinging their bodies around their wrists that have ball and socket joints. This robot uses a similar principle.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I was curious to see them, so I searched for Gibbons climbing and ended up watching about an hour of National Geographic videos on various monkeys, starting with Gibbons [nationalgeographic.com] (video continues to other monkeys).

    • by BraksDad (963908)
      Just like Mario riding Yoshi using his(?) tongue to swing around floating flowers.
  • And it does so by using the momentum of a tail that swings like a grandfather clock's pendulum."

    As opposed to some other kind of pendulum?

  • ...can it spin a web, any size? Or catch crooks, just like flies?

  • Does this mean we have already jumped to the conclusion that they'll have a propensity for open relationships?

I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the demigodic party. -- Dennis Ritchie

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