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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 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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 06, 2010 @04:45AM (#33159000)

    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..

  • by ledow (319597) on Friday August 06, 2010 @06:50AM (#33159424) Homepage

    "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 human. That's why we use them for everything from packing sweets to building cars, to disabling bombs, to exploring other planets - they can do things we can never do as a species, and that's why we use them. Their advantages have ALWAYS come from absolute precision, perfect timing and movement, tireless working and the ability to do things quicker than any human ever could. If they were faster, stronger, more accurate, more consistent etc. than us, we'd never bother to use them at all. This is why you have "robots" in your kitchen - your blender, for instance. If I give you dough to mix, or something to chop you cannot ever do it faster than one of those could.

    Robots, by nature of their construction and engineering, have always and will always be "better" at a physical task they are designed for. That it's taken this long for a simple wall-climbing robot to catch up is kinda embarrassing because they aren't limited by muscle-strength, can be constructed of very strong but extremely light materials, don't need to keep themselves "alive" as well, and there's enormous tactile and sensor-based response to work from - most wall-climbing robots don't have to do much computer-vision work, if any. When I say to you "learn to climb this wall", ingenuity gets you so far but if you're lacking in muscle and holding a lot of weight, that's your biggest obstacle. With a robot, it's only a matter of cost and construction time. And our ingenuity applied to robots is only ever "make it work like a human" (so *WE* can understand how it does it), "make it work like some animal adapted for that task", or "that's not a robot, it's just a giant wheel that goes up the wall".

    Robots in a physical form have always and will always crush us, purely because of the materials they are made of. The beauty is, though, that they are only ever order-followers. They can only do what they are explicitly told to do, only sense what they are explicitly told to sense, and only react how they are explicitly told to react. They may "appear" human but they can't "think outside the box" even when the box is very simple. Otherwise, we'd already be dead.

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday August 06, 2010 @09:22AM (#33160596) Homepage Journal

    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.

Some people have a great ambition: to build something that will last, at least until they've finished building it.

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